HK, Saudi Arabia exchanges to cooperate on cross listings

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The Hong Kong and Saudi stock exchanges signed a pact to cooperate in areas such as cross-listings, a day after Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu was reportedly said to be working to convince oil giant Aramco to list in the Asian financial hub.

The Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. and the Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. will also explore cooperation in fintech, ESG and other areas, the Asian exchange said in a statement.

“This agreement signals the beginning of even greater collaboration between our companies and our home markets, and we look forward to exploring many future areas of cooperation,” HKEX CEO Nicolas Aguzin said.

Dow Jones reported last year that Aramco was planning an additional share sale in Riyadh and a secondary listing that could potentially happen in London, Singapore or in other venues.

Lee continued his visit to Riyadh on Monday and attended a technology conference. He also met with Amin H Nasser, the President and the Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco, at the conference.

After visiting Saudi Arabia, Lee will travel to the United Arab Emirates and stay until Feb. 11.

On Sunday night, Lee led a delegation and attended a gala dinner and Saudi Arabia – Hong Kong Investment Forum. The event was attended by over 300 representatives of local authorities and business leaders.

He announced in the forum that after rounds of productive exploratory discussions between the two sides, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia would launch formal negotiations on an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA).

The IPPA and its negotiations will help strengthen investor confidence and increase bilateral investment flows, he added.

During the forum, Lee and the Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia, Khalid Al-Falih, also witnessed the exchange of six Memorandum of Understandings or Letter of Intent between Hong Kong and Saudi Arabian enterprises or organisations, covering finance, innovation technology, business, transportations and energy, etc.

Lee believed that through the visit, Hong Kong could establish connections and strengthen cooperation with Saudi Arabia on all fronts, including economy, trade, investment and culture.

He further pointed out that Hong Kong is situated in a strategic location with world-class infrastructures and abundant professional talents, so Saudi Arabian capital and investment can have boundless opportunities in Hong Kong.

He added that Hong Kong is a bridge to enter the mainland market and is one of the engines for the development of the Greater Bay Area, creating a vast space for investment and development.