World's biggest initial public offering: Saudi Aramco seeks $1.71 trillion in valuation

WION Web Team Riyadh, Ar Riyad, Saudi Arabia Nov 17, 2019, 10.18 PM(IST)

File photo: Saudi Aramco logo pictured at the company's oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, October 12, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Saudi Aramco is worth up to $1.7 trillion at the price range set by the oil giant on Sunday, below the $2 trillion sought by Saudi's crown prince.

Saudi Aramco — the state-owned oil giant has sought a valuation of up to 1.7 trillion US Dollars — which would make it the world’s biggest initial public offering.

Just to put it in perspective the target valuation will make Aramco the world’s biggest public company, overtaking Apple inc. 

However, the valuation is below the $2 trillion target sought by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman since he first mooted an initial public offering in 2016.

Watch: WION travels to Saudi Aramco's Khurais & Abqaiq facilities

Aramco will sell just 1.5% of its shares on the local stock exchange.

The offer falling short of a record coming in just below the $25 billion raised by Alibaba group holding ltd in 2014.

Interestingly, Aramco is slated to rely heavily on local investors after receiving a tepid response from international money managers.

The shares will not be marketed in the US and Canada as originally planned, Japan is also off the list.

This in total contrast to what Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan had said while the IPO was announced earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia has been pulling out all the stops to ensure the IPO is a success to a sceptical audience.

It’s cut the tax rate for Aramco three times promised the world’s largest dividend and offered bonus shares for retail investors and not to mention, the catastrophic drone attack suffered by Aramco at the hands of Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.

The Aramco IPO is a pet project of Mohammad bin Salman’s much-hyped vision 2030 plan to change the social and economic fabric of the Kingdom.

The plan, which relies heavily on attracting foreign investors into Saudi Arabia suffered a big setback after the assassination of journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate.

Aramco has also faced the challenge of the strengthening global movement against climate change that’s targeted the world’s largest oil and gas companies.

No matter what the final valuation, the share sale will create a public company of unmatched profitability. Aramco earned a net income of $111 billion in 2018 on revenue of $315 billion.