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The world’s largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, is considering the world’s largest offering, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to Saudi officials and “other people familiar with the plan,” Saudi Aramco is considering selling off as much as $50 billion in shares. If The Kingdom goes through with the share sale, it would be the largest share sale in history.
The share sales will be hosted on the Riyadh exchange, Tadawul. That decision was reached after a series of advisor consultations that spanned months, in order to insulate Aramco from possible legal challenges that could arise from listing on a foreign exchange.
A few of the sources suggested that The Kingdom could host the sale before the end of the year, although the final decision about the offering has not yet been made.
This isn’t the first time the oil giant has made plans to offer shares on an exchange, only to renege later, or at least downsize its offering from ambitious plans. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) staked his reputation on a huge IPO of Aramco years ago, including a possible share sale on the NYSE—but valuation skepticism and risks associated with 9/11 terror atttacks, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, and Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to be transparent about Aramco’s production, exports, reserves, capacity, and the like prevented Saudi Arabia’s national oil company from following through with such a big offering, opting to list on the Tadwul only on December 11, 2019, when 1.5% of Aramco’s value began trading on the exchange. While shy of the 5% promised by MbS, the sale was still huge, generating $25.6 billion for the Kingdom and setting a record.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.