Saudi Aramco shares to start trading Dec 11

Agence France-Presse . Riyadh | Published: 00:00, Dec 08,2019


Saudi Aramco shares would start trading domestically next Wednesday, the Riyadh stock exchange said, after the energy giant raised $25.6 billion in the world’s biggest IPO.

Aramco on Thursday priced its initial public offering at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.

‘The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) announces that the listing and trading of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) will start on Wednesday,’ the bourse said in a statement Friday. Aramco shares will trade within a fluctuation limit of plus or minus 10 percent, the statement added.

Aramco said the sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy, was oversubscribed nearly 4.7 times.

Aramco will sell three billion shares, and the company said Friday it could exercise a ‘greenshoe’ option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.

The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trilliondollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.

But the scaled-down IPO is still a far cry from the blockbuster originally planned by Prince Mohammed.

The much-delayed stock sale, first announced in 2016, was initially expected to raise as much as $100 billion from the sale of up to five percent of the company.

Its plans to raise additional funds by listing on a major international market are also on hold.

The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.

But sceptics say the IPO’s proceeds would barely cover the kingdom’s budget deficit for a year.

The IPO was heavily focused on Saudi and other Gulf traders.

International investors have remained sceptical about the secretive company’s targeted valuation, even though it fell short of Prince Mohammed’s desired figure of $2 trillion.

The IPO also comes with oil prices under pressure due to a sluggish global economy hit by the US-China trade war and record output by non-OPEC crude exporters.

The OPEC+ group, including both cartel members and other major exporters, reached a deal on Friday to cut production by 5,00,000 barrels per day in a bid to prop up prices.

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