Saudi Aramco prices shares at top of range in world's biggest IPO

Saudi Aramco prices shares at top of range in world's biggest IPO
  • Clock-gray 05:27
  • calendar-gray 06 December 2019

State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) will be the biggest in history, but will still fall significantly short of the towering $2 trillion valuation long sought by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, APA reports citing Reuters.

Aramco priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the top of its indicative range, the company said in a statement, raising $25.6 billion and beating Alibaba’s record $25 billion listing in 2014.

At that level, Aramco has a market valuation of $1.7 trillion, comfortably overtaking Apple as the world’s most valuable listed firm. But the listing, expected later this month on the Riyadh stock exchange, is a far cry from the blockbuster debut originally envisaged by the Crown Prince.

Saudi Arabia relied on domestic and regional investors to sell a 1.5% stake after lukewarm interest from abroad, even at the reduced valuation of $1.7 trillion.

Sources told Reuters earlier that Aramco may also exercise a 15% “greenshoe” option, allowing it to increase the size of the deal to a maximum of $29.4 billion.

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 Russia.

For a timeline on the IPO’s progress please click on:

Climate change concerns, political risk and a lack of corporate transparency put foreign investors off the offering, forcing the kingdom to ditch ambitions to raise as much as $100 billion via an international and domestic listing of a 5% stake.

Even at a $1.7 trillion valuation, international institutions baulked, prompting Aramco to scrap roadshows in New York and London and focus instead on marketing a 1.5% stake to Saudi investors and wealthy Gulf Arab allies. Saudi banks offered citizens cheap credit to bid for shares.

Riyadh has gone quiet on when or where Aramco could list abroad.

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