JPMorgan Chase has been picked as the investment bank to lead Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering, which could be the biggest ever, people close to the matter told AFP on Tuesday.

The US banking giant was notified by the Saudi company of the selection on Tuesday, the sources said, adding that Aramco envisions an offering on a local exchange followed by one on an international exchange that has not yet been picked.

Exchanges in New York and Hong Kong are heavily lobbying the Saudi group for the listing, the sources said, adding that Tokyo is not in the running.

Aramco has also chosen Goldman Sachs to work on the offering and other banks are expected to be added at a later date, sources said.

Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser said earlier Tuesday on the sidelines of an energy conference in Abu Dhabi that the company expects to undertake the offering “very soon” but that the timing is up to the government.

Aramco has said it plans to float around five percent of the state-owned company in 2020 or 2021.

The mammoth initial public offering forms the cornerstone of a reform program envisaged by the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed binCrown, to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil.

AFP