|07 December, 2019

Aramco will hit $2trln valuation soon after float: Energy Minister

Saudi Aramco shares will start trading on Dec. 11

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman gestures as he speaks to members of the media on the sideline of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 30, 2019.

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman gestures as he speaks to members of the media on the sideline of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 30, 2019.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

RIYADH —Saudi Aramco may float on the stock market at a valuation below the $2 trillion the Kingdom initially targeted, but it will soon rise above that level on the open market Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman predicted on Friday.

The state oil company is expected to start trading for the first time on Wednesday at a valuation of $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable company in the world.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting of the OPEC oil exporters’ club in Vienna, Prince Abdulaziz said this week’s milestone pricing was a “proud day for all of us.”

“We decided to lower the valuation we were seeking, but on the 11th the shares will be trading and in a few months from now... it will be higher than the $2 trillion and I will bet this will happen,” he said.

“It is a proud day for all of us. It is a proud day for Prince Muhammad to celebrate,” he added, with reference to Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

Saudi Aramco shares will start trading on Dec. 11, the Saudi securities exchange Tadawul said on Friday. Tadawul announced that the listing and trading of Saudi Aramco will start with the symbol 2222, and a ±10% daily price fluctuation limit.

The Saudi oil giant priced on Thursday its initial public offering at SR32 ($8.53) per share, raising $25.6 billion and beating Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's record $25 billion listing in 2014.

On the first day of trading only, the opening auction for Saudi Aramco will be extended for 30 minutes. Accordingly, the opening auction session will start from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. AST on Wednesday only. Continuous trading will start at 10:30 a.m. AST, and closing auction at 3:00 p.m. AST as usual.

The opening auction will remain the same for the rest of the securities listed on the Main Market from 9:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. AST. Continuous trading for the rest of listed securities on the Main Market will commence at 10:00 a.m.

At this level, Aramco would have a market valuation of $1.7 trillion, overtaking Apple Inc. as the most valuable listed firm.

The energy giant had been offering 1.5 percent, or three billion, of the company’s shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). A third of those shares, 0.5 percent, were allocated to retail, or individual investors.

Aramco completed the retail portion of its IPO last Thursday. It was 1.48 times oversubscribed with SR47.4 billion ($12.64 billion) in orders.

According to the IPO prospectus, Saudi Arabian retail investors that hold their shares for a minimum of 180 days, or six months, will be eligible for a 10 percent discount through the allocation of additional bonus shares. — Al-Arabiya English/SG

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