Saudi Aramco shares soar in trading debut

Pedro Gonçalves
Saudi Aramco shares soar in trading debut

Saudi Aramco has become the world's largest listed company, as shares in the state-backed oil producer rose by 10% on its stock market debut in Riyadh.

Shares of the state-owned oil company rose to 35.2 Saudi riyals ($9.38) from 32 riyals in early deals in Riyadh, up 10% and hitting their daily limit. The price gives it a valuation of $1.88trn and makes it the largest listed company in the world, ahead of Microsoft and Apple.

Aramco's public debut, which listed 1.5% of its shares locally on the Saudi Tadawul, is the biggest on record. The company raised $25.6bn in the largest IPO, surpassing the $25bn raised by China's Alibaba when it debuted on Wall Street in 2014.

The Saudi Arabian government is pushing to reach the $2tn market value coveted by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The oil company raised a record $25.6bn from an initial public offering managed by Goldman Sachs. The rise in Aramco's shares came with multiple reports that the Saudi Arabian government had pushed domestic investors to pour their money into the company.

The Public Pension Agency, the Public Investment Fund and the PIF's Sanabil Investments unit are among the state-backed institutions that may be relied on to support shares in Saudi Aramco once they are trading. The company canceled international roadshows due to lackluster foreign interest.

"The government was the only shareholder. Today, the company has more than 5m shareholders," Saudi Aramco;s chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan said. "Today, all Saudi Aramco employees and every person in the kingdom has the right to be proud. This IPO is considered the largest IPO in the history of humankind," he added as he and other top executives from the oil company rang a golden bell on the Tadawul.

Finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan told Reuters that the most of the $25.6bn raised through the IPO will go to Saudi's sovereign wealth fund (PIF), which is trying to diversify its economy.


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