Saudi Arabia’s oil company Aramco began trading, gaining 10% in its debut at the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange. The initial launch pushed it’s growth 10% valued to USD 1.88 trillion, higher than any other listed company in the world.
Trading for Aramco shares began at 10:30 am in Riyadh.
The state-owned oil giant started a mammoth USD 25.6 billion IPO that set the record as the biggest ever in history.
The company had announced a sale of 1.5 percent of its shares at 32 Saudi riyals a share, or what is $8.53.
At a pre-trading auction earlier in the morning, bids for Aramco’s shares reached the 10 percent limit on stock price fluctuation allowed by the Tadawul stock exchange.
That pushed the price of Aramco shares to 35.2 riyals, or USD 9.39 a share.
This makes Aramco more valuable than Microsoft or Apple, two of the top listed companies in the world. It’s also worth more than the top five oil companies Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP combined.
Aramco is selling 0.5 percent of its shares to individual retail investors most of whom are Saudi nationals and 1 percent to institutional investors, most of which are Saudi or Gulf-based funds.
Only Saudi citizens, residents of Saudi Arabia or nationals of Gulf Arab states were permitted to buy Aramco shares as individual investors.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to use the money raised from the sale of a sliver of the kingdom’s crown jewel to diversify the country’s economy and fund major national projects that create jobs for the millions of young Saudis entering the workforce.
What the 34-year-old crown prince had initially sought was a USD 2 trillion valuation for Aramco and the sale of up to 5 per cent of the company – on an international stock exchange as well as the Saudi market – that could raise USD 100 billion.
Instead, potential buyers outside Saudi Arabia thought his $2 trillion valuation was too high. With gains made on the local Tadawul and strong local support, the company could reach the $2 trillion mark in trading on the local exchange.
The strong demand for Aramco’s stock, however, has so far been mostly supported by Saudi and some Gulf-based funds, rather than international investors.