DUBAI - The Toronto Stock Exchange, which is vying to host Saudi Aramco's overseas listing, is exploring partnerships with bourses in the Gulf to help it tap into energy privatisations there.
The exchange, the global leader for oil and gas listings, expects that such collaborations would encourage parallel listings of Middle East companies, said Monica Rovers, head of business development for global energy at Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange, part of the TMX Group.
Toronto has similar collaborations with stock exchanges in Oslo and Bogota and is exploring an agreement with Mexico's stock exchange.
"A partnership with a stock exchange in the (Gulf) region is a possibility," Rovers told Reuters during a visit to the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
"There seems to be a new wave of thinking in the Middle East of companies considering privatisation and that's one of the reasons we are here."
She said the cost of listing in Canada was around 30 percent less than in New York, while the time taken to list was also shorter. A well prepared company could list within about three months, she said.
Aramco remains the big target, and attracting it would also make Toronto more attractive to Gulf companies.
"We are one of the exchanges that would love to have Aramco listed with us and we worked together with a consortium of major Canadian banks and broker-dealers to try to bring that listing to TSX," Rovers said.
Saudi authorities aim to list up to 5 percent of Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, on both the Saudi stock exchange in Riyadh, the Tadawul, and one or more international markets in an IPO that could raise $100 billion.
New York and London are widely seen as the frontrunners in the race to secure the overseas listing, but Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo are also among contenders to attract a slice.
About 10 percent of companies listed in Toronto are from outside Canada and the exchange wants to increase that proportion.
(Editing by Susan Fenton) ((Tom.Arnold@thomsonreuters.com; +97144536265; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))