By Krishna N. Das
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco has approached Malaysian state energy company Petronas [PETR.UL] to participate in Aramco's initial public offering (IPO), Petronas said on Wednesday, as the Middle Eastern oil giant seeks cornerstone investors for the listing.
The Saudi government plans to sell 2% of state-run Aramco, the world's most profitable company, in a domestic listing on Dec. 11, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The approach comes as Petronas, officially known as Petroliam Nasional Bhd, nears the start of commercial operations at a $27 billion refinery and petrochemical project built jointly with Aramco in southern Malaysia.
"We have been recently approached by representatives of Saudi Aramco to consider Petronas' participation in its initial public offering exercise," Petronas, the Malaysian government's cash cow, told Reuters.
"However, we will not be providing any further comments on this matter at this time."
Aramco's much-vaunted IPO was delayed as deal advisers said they needed more time to lock in cornerstone, or anchor, investors such as sovereign wealth funds. In 2016, state-owned Postal Savings Bank of China <1658.HK> sold 77% of its $7.4 billion (5.74 billion pounds) IPO to such backers.
Reuters reported in September that Aramco had approached Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Singapore's GIC and other sovereign wealth funds to invest in the domestic leg of its listing.
Abu Dhabi's state investor Mubadala Investment Co has also been approached by Aramco's advisers.
Asked about its interest in the Aramco IPO, Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd told Reuters it "does not have any investments in the oil and gas sector".
(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Louise Heavens, Dale Hudson and David Evans)