Saudi Aramco plans world’s largest IPO next month

The world’s most profitable company will become a publicly traded firm next month and could fetch the largest initial public offering in history.

A gas flame is seen behind Saudi Aramco oil pipelines in the desert at Khurais oil field near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. File Photo by Ali Haider

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, is planning to sell an unspecified number of shares representing between 1 percent and 3 percent of the company. Executives are trying to attract investors before the scheduled IPO in December.

The Saudi government announced the plan for an IPO on Sunday after it was approved by regulators.
“The [offering] will increase our international visibility as the leading company in the world,” CEO Amin Nasser said.

Saudi Aramco will list on Riyadh’s Tadawul exchange. Investors will receive one extra share for every 10 they buy in the first 180 days, the company said.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman originally planned to start selling Saudi Aramco shares two years ago. The company’s most recent valuation was $1.5 trillion.

Aramco, which supplies 10 percent of the world’s crude oil, reported earnings of $11 billion in 2018, more than J.P Morgan Chase, Facebook, ExxonMobil and Google parent company Alphabet combined. It is the world’s most profitable company in a nation that has the world’s largest oil reserves.

Saudi’s oil infrastructure was the target of drone strikes this past summer, which temporarily cut Riyadh’s oil exports in half. Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility, but Saudi Arabia and the United States blamed Iran.

ByNicholas Sakelaris