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.
The loan agreement comes as London Stock Exchange , with backing from Prime Minister Theresa May, competes to host part of Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to be the biggest float ever.
“This builds on previous support for UK exports as part of Saudi Aramco joint venture projects,” the government said in a statement.
A spokesman for Britain’s finance ministry said the guarantees were not part of the country’s attempt to secure the IPO for London.
The guarantees announced on Thursday were relatively big. Over the past five years combined, previous guarantees have totalled 14 billion pounds ($18 billion), a government spokeswoman said.
Asked what specific projects the guarantees would back, the spokeswoman said Britain would work with the company to identify initiatives which could include British exports.
Saudi officials have said domestic and international exchanges, including New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong, have been considered for a partial listing of the state-run firm.