State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco launched its initial stock offering, pricing at the high end of the target range and raising $25.6 billion.
The sum raised by the oil giant exceeds the 25 billion dollars collected by the Chinese online trading group Alibaba in 2014 when it entered Wall Street. The beginnings of the market also place the Saudi oil giant’s value at $ 1.7 trillion, far ahead of the other giants of the trillion-dollar club: Apple ($ 1.2 trillion), Microsoft and Alibaba ($ 1.1 trillion).
Aramco relied on domestic and regional investors to sell a 1.5% stake after lukewarm interest from abroad. According to sources, Aramco is expected to begin trading December 12 on the Tadawul exchange in Riyadh at 32 riyals, or $8.53.
The IPO’s pricing came as Saudi Arabia met with Russia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in Vienna to discuss oil production. The IPO has been underwritten mainly by the Saudis themselves, as major foreign investors raised questions about corporate governance, the company’s ability to protect its oil installations and its profit outlook as global climate policies become stricter.
Aramco’s early days in the market are intended to help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from its extreme dependence on oil. The company plans to sell 1.5% of its capital during its IPO.
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