A coalition of environmental groups including the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, and Friends of the Earth has written to the chief executive officers of leading investment banks, urging them not to work on the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco.
In a letter to the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, HSBC, and Morgan Stanley, the environmental groups said it would be impossible to meet carbon emissions reductions called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change if banks continued to facilitate fossil fuel lending.
“This IPO is likely to be by far the biggest single infusion of capital into the fossil fuel industry since at least the Paris Agreement in late 2015,” the groups said.
Saudi Aramco had been expected to release its prospectus on Sunday ahead of a planned listing in Saudi Arabia next month, but the IPO launch has been delayed amid concerns over its valuation. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly sought a $2 trillion valuation for the company.
CNN, citing a source familiar with the IPO process, said the listing was pushed back to allow quarterly results that would reflect impacts of the September 14 attacks on oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais.
The investment banks are unlikely to refuse participation in the IPO, though none would comment to CNN Business on the environmental groups’ letter.
In a statement, Saudi Aramco said it was an industry leader in emissions-reducing technologies. “In order to achieve a low-carbon future, we believe it is necessary to meet both global energy demand and lower emissions,” it said.
Environmental groups also cited the murder, by Saudi agents, of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and the Kingdom’s involvement in indiscriminate airstrikes on civilians in Yemen.
“We are also concerned about your banks’ eagerness to help raise billions of dollars for Saudi Arabia given the horrendous human rights record of the Saudi regime,” the groups said.
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