Saudi oil giant Aramco announces world's largest IPO

The Historic IPO Was No Dream | Asharq AL-awsat

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But Aramco managed to recover the bulk of its production levels more quickly than markets expected, bringing the oil price back down in the same week ⁠- something El-Erian believes gives the company credibility and clout for investors.

That could lead to confidence in the Saudi economy and generate billions of dollars in capital to invest in job-creating projects, analysts say.

"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 yesterday.

The Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, didn't respond to a request for comment on whether it will buy Aramco shares in the secondary market. Iran has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The government promoted the investment as a patriotic duty, particularly after Aramco's oil facilities were attacked in September, temporarily halving the kingdom's oil output. The world's largest oil field, according to the prospectus, Ghawar has accounted for more than half of Saudi Arabia's production, yet it still has reserves of 48 billion barrels.

The anticipated 2020 budget deficit would be up $15 billion on 2019 and will come even as Saudi Arabia plans to cut spending next year by 7.8%, to $272 billion. Profits were down for the first nine months of this year, but still rang in at a sizable $68 billion. At that price, the company would be worth $1.7 trillion.

Even though Saudi Aramco is optimistic about results of the IPO, it has lost support from many worldwide investors who are doubtful about the valuation.

Along with the IPO, Aramco has committed to pay a large annual dividend until 2024, ensuring that investors don't sell their shares and drop the company's valuation.

Abdulaziz said this week's milestone pricing was a "proud day for all of us".

The IPO is the culmination of a years-long effort to sell a portion of the world's most profitable company and raise funds to help diversify the kingdom away from oil and create jobs for a growing population. The move sent crude prices soaring and predicting that Aramco, fresh from its initial public offering, will soon surge past the elusive $2 trillion valuation.

"It will be higher than the 2 trillion and l can bet that this will happen", he said.

Aramco's plan to raise additional funds by selling further shares on a major worldwide market are now on hold. Finance Minister Jadaan said the proceeds from Aramco's share offering would be reinvested, helping to create more revenue channels for the government. An additional 450 million Aramco shares could be sold under an over-allotment option for underwriters, which would bring the total amount raised to almost $30 billion.

According to the Arab News, 2/3rds of the IPO has been taken up by institutions, and the rest by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other GCC states. A third of those shares, 0.5 percent, were allocated to retail, or individual investors.

To boost demand, authorities allowed lenders to provide credit for stock purchases at a proportion that was twice the usual for IPOs.

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