Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco, the world’s largest oil company by production and market capitalization, plans more share offerings to the public in coming years, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Thursday.
“There are going to be IPOs by Aramco in the following years,” Bloomberg quoted the crown prince as saying at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.
The prince, however, did not give any details either about the timing of the new share sales or on which markets those sales could take place.
Earlier this week, the governor of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Yasir Al-Rumayyan, hinted that Saudi Aramco could think about selling more of its shares under the right market conditions.
Saudi Arabia owns just over 98 percent in Aramco, after selling 1.7 percent in the initial public offering (IPO) in December 2019.
Selling more shares in Saudi Aramco could be a challenge for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, considering that the listing of the oil giant more than a year ago didn’t go as initially planned and was delayed several times.
The Saudis were initially aiming to list Aramco on the Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul, and on one major international market, with London, New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong all rumored or reported to have been in the race.
But in the end, tepid investor demand and the possibility of exposing the Kingdom to lawsuits—especially with a New York listing—forced the rulers to downsize the Aramco IPO.
Saudi Aramco made its debut on the Saudi stock exchange in December 2019. 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.
The IPO pricing valued the entire company at US$1.7 trillion, making it at the time the most valuable listed company in the world. This valuation was still US$300 billion short of the coveted US$2-trillion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had sought for years.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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