Saudi Aramco becomes first company worldwide to hit $2 trillion valuation

Saudi Aramco shares soared Thursday, making it the world’s first company to hit a $2 trillion value.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reached his goal Thursday to have the state-owned oil monopoly reach a $2 trillion valuation. Photo by Hugo Philpott

The stock gained 10 percent for the second consecutive day trading on the Riyadh’s stock exchange, lifting the company’s value to $2 trillion, and hitting a high of 38.70 riyals ($10.32) per share before losing some gains.

The value makes the company the most valuable in the world, with runner-up Apple worth around $1.2 trillion.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said almost four years ago that the country’s oil company would reach a $2 trillion valuation, can claim a political victory.

Salman floated the idea of selling 5 percent of the company in 2018 to global investors instead of the 2 percent listed for sale this week, but the deal was hindered by valuation concerns, potential U.S. legal complications, and shelved after the killing of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The Washington Post columnist was often critical of the Saudi royal family and resided legally in the United States.

Still, the listing revived and Aramco raised $25.6 billion last week in the world’s largest initial public offering. The company sold shares at $8.53 each, valuing the company at $1.7 billion as it received total bids of $119 billion.

Last week’s sale was the first major offloading of state assets since bin Salman launched a plan to reduce the country’s economic dependence on revenue from oil.

Gianna Bern, an energy expert and University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business teacher, said the local offering attracted a “friendly audience” of Saudi nationals.

“The real test will be a global offering, in another jurisdiction, such as London or Asia with more stringent regulatory requirements,” Bern said.

BySommer Brokaw