* King Salman says would look into Abe's request - Japan
* Aramco-TSE joint group likely to study Aramco listing in
* Japan is among biggest buyers of Saudi oil
(Repeats, changing slug to align with TV)
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, March 13 Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe asked Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Monday to support a
listing of oil giant Aramco's shares in Tokyo, as financial
centres in Asia and elsewhere step up efforts to win the coveted
$100 billion listing.
Abe made the request for support on the Aramco listing to
the Saudi monarch, who responded by saying the kingdom would
look into the request because he wants Japanese investors to buy
Aramco shares, Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro
Nogami told reporters.
The two leaders met on Monday, the second day of the king's
visit to Japan, part of a month-long Asian tour.
Separately, the governments of Japan and Saudi Arabia said
in a joint statement that Aramco and the Tokyo Stock Exchange
(TSE) are considering setting up a joint group to study a Japan
listing for the Saudi oil giant.
Saudi authorities plan to list up to 5 percent of the
world's largest oil producer on the Saudi stock exchange in
Riyadh, the Tadawul, and also one or more international markets.
Besides Tokyo, markets in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore
and Toronto, are vying for what could be the world's largest
IPO, potentially raising as much as $100 billion.
While the Japanese government is keen to have Aramco shares
trade in Tokyo, bankers and lawyers say the Tokyo market is
unlikely to get the nod because of strong competition and due to
Japanese investors being less receptive to energy companies than
some other sectors such as technology. Yen volatility is another
The Saudi monarch arrived in Japan on Sunday after a visit
to Malaysia and Indonesia that included a holiday stay in Bali.
Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and Aramco executives were
scheduled to travel with him to Japan, sources told Reuters
Saudi officials are keen to court Asian investors for the
sale of the Aramco stake in 2018, and have solicited financial
advice from banks with links to China.
The IPO is the centrepiece of the Saudi government's
ambitious plan, known as Vision 2030, to diversify the economy
away from oil.
Japanese and Asian banks and companies are expected to play
major roles in the kingdom's plans to develop non-oil industries
and expand its international investments.
Saudi Arabia is Japan's biggest oil supplier and Japanese
refineries and other oil importers bought about $2.2 billion
worth of Saudi oil in January.
The two countries on Monday also signed economic cooperation
agreements in industry, energy and finance and on setting up a
possible special economic zone in Saudi Arabia.
They also agreed to start a feasibility study on vehicle
production in the Middle Eastern country. The Nikkei on Saturday
reported that Toyota Motor Corp is looking into
building a plant in Saudi Arabia.
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Emi Emoto,
Hiroko Yoneda and Ami Miyazaki; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick;
Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)