May 10, 2017 / 11:34 PM / in 3 months

Toronto Exchange 'legitimate contender' for Aramco IPO, CEO says - Bloomberg

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of Saudi Aramco is seen at the 20th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MOES 2017) in Manama, Bahrain, March 7, 2017.Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

(Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange is still in the running for part of the listing of Saudi Arabian Oil Co, known as Saudi Aramco, which could be the world's largest initial public offering, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

"Yes, we're still in conversations, and yes, it's still a possibility," Lou Eccleston, chief executive of TMX Group Ltd, which owns the exchange, said in an interview, according to Bloomberg.

TMX did not respond immediately to requests for comment on Eccleston's remarks.

While Britain's stock exchange pulls out all the stops to woo Saudi Aramco, some leading British fund managers who would be among potential investors have expressed reservations about the oil titan's corporate governance and valuation.

The Saudi government values the state firm at $2 trillion (1.54 trillion pounds) and plans to sell a stake of around 5 percent next year in what is expected to be the largest stock market listing in history. Global financial centres from London to New York and Hong Kong are vying for a piece of the action.

Sources told Reuters last week that the London Stock Exchange was working on a new type of listing structure that would be more attractive for Aramco by allowing it to avoid the most onerous corporate governance requirements of a primary listing, without being seen as second class.

Aramco is expected to list on the Riyadh exchange, the Tadawul, and at least one major international stock market.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler

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