Thursday, 27 February, 2020

Saudi Aramco To Hit Valuation Of $1.7 Trillion In Its IPO

Saudi Aramco IPO expected at $1.7 trillion as world's biggest company Saudi Aramco to be world's most valuable firm after IPO next week
Irene Mckinney | 11 December, 2019, 00:12

Trading is expected to begin on the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange in mid-December.

On Thursday, the countries that make up the OPEC oil-producing cartel - led by heavyweight Saudi Arabia- were meeting in Vienna to decide whether to cut down on their production and push up prices of fuel and energy around the world.

Aramco's overall worth exceeds that of the world's top two companies, Microsoft and Apple. The company said most of the demand for its IPO yesterday was coming from Saudi wealth funds and regional financial services operators.

The company, founded by United States oil companies (Aramco is short for Arabian American Oil Co.), was nationalised by the Saudi government in the 1970s. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia blame Iran for the attack. Despite news it might take weeks to recover the lost supplies however, Saudi Aramco, which was preparing for the release of its IPO at the time, quickly and surprisingly restored the bulk of its production.

The pricing comes as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is gearing up to deepen oil supply cuts to support prices, provided it can strike a deal later this week with allies such as Russian Federation.

Aramco had received $119 billion bids for its $25.6 billion offering, a 465 per cent oversubscription overall.

After marketing the float nearly exclusively to investors in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco has plans to list only 1.5 percent of the company on the local Tadawul stock exchange.

"Considering its core business and the impact of its contribution to global emissions, and following our responsible investment policy, we have no interest or plan to invest in Saudi Aramco", a spokesperson for Canadian investor Financiere des professionals said in a statement.

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Aramco is a notoriously secretive company, but it was required to lift the lid on its operations in the IPO prospectus, which listed its risks and strengths.

"Aramco was tested and it showed its engineering ability that people who know the company well appreciate and admire", he said.

Aramco's plan to raise additional funds by selling further shares on a major global market are now on hold.

The kingdom has said the IPO is planned to raise funds to help diversify the economy away from a reliance on oil. A third of those shares, 0.5 percent, were allocated to retail, or individual investors.

Aramco has also provided local investors with promises of higher dividends and the opportunity to obtain additional free shares if they hold their shares for some time.

He said that the list of institutional investors for Aramco signaled that organizations were keen to back the firm for the long term.

For years, one of the largest expenditures has been on public sector wages.

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