Saudi exchange says Aramco shares will start trading December 11

Daniel Fowler
December 10, 2019

But the move has yet to be decided, given the uncertainty surrounding the oil industry's future and Saudi Arabia's confrontation with Iran.

Aramco's overall worth exceeds that of the world's top two companies, Microsoft and Apple. In addition, the Saudi government retains control of production levels, which affects Aramco's output potential.

He spoke at the closing press conference of the OPEC+ meeting in Vienna.

Saudi Aramco officials are pricing their shares at a little over 8.50 dollars each.

The IPO values Aramco at $1.7tn - short of its $2tn target, but making it the most valuable listed company on earth.

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The annual Saudi budget is watched closely because it offers one of the clearest indicators of whether the kingdom is on track with its Vision 2030 plans, the blueprint put forth by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to overhaul the economy, particularly as sustainable sources of energy become cheaper and more popular.

Saudi Arabia chose to proceed with an offering to local and regional investors, described by Prince Abdulaziz today as "family and friends".

Saudi Arabia also has to rely on domestic interest in its oil giant, and possibly on large institutional investors from its Persian Gulf friends, as foreign fund managers have not been too keen to invest in the world's most profitable oil company.

To encourage Saudi citizens to buy and keep hold of the stock, the company says it will pay a dividend of at least $75 billion in 2020. Around 4.9 million Saudi retail investors have bought shares in the oil giant, including 2.3 million aged between 31 and 45. There were reports that the prince, who led a shakedown of top royals and businessmen during an anti-corruption sweep in 2017, also pressed wealthy Saudis to contribute.

Institutional investors, many of them Saudi or Gulf-based funds, raised more than $100 billion during the book-building period that closed last week. Aramco has previously hinted that trading could begin this month. "That's why this IPO or the public listing in Tadawul is one positive step, but it's insufficient".

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