Saudi Arabia’s plan to list Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is sending other Middle Eastern nations rushing to raise capital on equity markets, potentially privatizing swaths of the state-run energy industry for the first time. Three years of lower energy prices have pushed regional governments dependent on oil revenue to tap public markets as a way of plugging holes in their budgets. Gulf nations are also looking to this tactic to diversify their economies. Many governments have already issued bonds. Now, they are turning to equity markets, a move hastened by the initial public offering of 5% of the company, also called Saudi Aramco. Once listed, it is expected to be the world’s largest company by market capitalization.
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Written by Sarah McFarlane, Christopher Whittall and Summer Said at The Wall Street Journal