United Kingdom denies $2bn Aramco deal linked to possible London listing

Britain will provide $2 billion in credit guarantees to Saudi Aramco so it can buy British goods and services more easily, but denied it was part of efforts to persuade the energy giant to list its shares in London.

According to The Financial Times, the UK Treasury confirmed that it is "finalising" the credit line through its UK Export Finance group, having undertaken extensive due diligence.

"We will be providing Saudi Aramco with support in the form of credit guarantees to procure from the United Kingdom", a Treasury spokesperson said. "It's totally separate to that", an official said.

The loan comes on the top of nearly £500 million already handed to the oil and gas giant over the last five years, most recently for the Sadara chemicals project, Saudi Aramco's joint venture with Dow Chemicals. The flotation is expected to fetch as much as $100 billion.

Britain is among the countries wooing Saudi Aramco, which is considering listing some shares overseas.

Last week, USA president Donald Trump called on Saudi Arabia to list the oil firm in NY. Outgoing London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet accompanied Prime Minister Theresa May on a recent visit to Saudi Arabia to lobby for London to get a slice of the IPO. "Important to the United States". While the London Stock Exchange is in favour of the changes, the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Investment Association have come out against them.

Opec's biggest oil producer is undergoing an economic overhaul as part of Vision 2030, the brainchild of the crown prince that was revealed a year ago.

The Treasury could not name the British companies which stood to benefit from the agreement, but said UKEF was holding exporter events in coming months to help British suppliers win deals with the Saudi firm.

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