Saudi Aramco started trading with a bang on the Saudi stock market on Wednesday, surging by the maximum allowed 10 percent and giving the Saudi oil giant a valuation of US$1.88 trillion on its first day as a publicly-listed company.
Saudi Aramco’s shares jumped to US$9.39 (35.20 Saudi riyals) on their market debut on Wednesday, 10 percent higher than the final offer price of US$8.53 (32 riyals) in the initial public offering (IPO), which valued the company at US$1.7 trillion.
The 10-percent fluctuation is the maximum permitted up or down range which Aramco’s shares can trade in a day.
Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant had priced its IPO at the top end of the range—32 Saudi riyals ($8.53), which made the share listing the largest in history, surpassing the US$25-billion IPO of Alibaba on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014.
Following the record-breaking initial public offering, Aramco began today its life as a public company, while some analysts are still wondering how the Kingdom’s oil giant will allay foreign investors’ concerns about transparency and governance.
Although the US$1.7 trillion valuation makes Aramco the most valuable listed company in the world, more than Apple and Google combined, the valuation was still US$300 billion short of the coveted US$2-trillion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sought for years.
Saudi Arabia has had to rely on domestic interest in its oil giant, and possibly on large institutional investors from its Persian Gulf friends, as foreign fund managers have not been too keen to invest in the world’s most profitable oil company.
When its shares started trading on the Saudi stock exchange today, Aramco became the world’s largest listed firm by market capitalization, easily beating Apple whose market cap was some US$1.19 trillion early on Wednesday.
On its first day of trading, Aramco’s value reached US$1.88 trillion, closer to the US$2-trillion valuation the Saudis had sought.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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