Saudi Aramco shares to start trading December 11

RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi Aramco shares will start trading domestically next Wednesday, the Riyadh stock exchange said, after the energy giant raised USD25.6 billion in the world’s biggest IPO.

Aramco on Thursday priced its initial public offering at 32 riyals (USD8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the USD25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.

“The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) announces that the listing and trading of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) will start on Wednesday,” the bourse said in a statement Friday.

Aramco shares will trade within a fluctuation limit of plus or minus 10 per cent, the statement added.

Aramco said the sale of 1.5 per cent of the firm, the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy, was oversubscribed nearly 4.7 times.

Aramco will sell three billion shares, and the company said on Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to USD29.4 billion.

The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at USD1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.

But the scaled-down IPO is still a far cry from the blockbuster originally planned by Prince Mohammed.

The much-delayed stock sale, first announced in 2016, was initially expected to raise as much as USD100 billion from the sale of up to five per cent of the company.

Its plans to raise additional funds by listing on a major international market are also on hold. The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.