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Saudi Aramco shares max out on record stock market debut

Shares in Saudi Aramco surged to their maximum 10% daily limit as the state-owned oil giant made its record-breaking stock market debut.

Stocks opened at $9.39 (£7.16), well above their initial public offering (IPO) price of $8.53 (£6.48), on their first day of trading following the world’s biggest flotation.

It gives the company a market value of about $1.88trn (£1.43trn), comfortably making it the world’s most valuable listed company, ousting tech giant Apple from the top spot.

The Saudi Tadawul exchange will host the shares

Image: The listing on the Saudi Tadawul exchange is the biggest in history

This is more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.


While still short of the $2trn price-tag sought by the Gulf state’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, if the shares gain is sustained over the next two days it should meet the coveted valuation.

The firm priced its listing last week, raising $25.6bn (£19.5bn), beating Chinese tech firm Alibaba’s record $25bn (£19.5bn) flotation in 2014.

Bassel Khatoun of Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity said: “This is a successful IPO and the Aramco listing will add depth to the local market by providing exposure to a vital sector of Saudi Arabia’s economy.

More from Saudi Arabia

“We are hopeful that Saudi Aramco uses the Tadawul listing as a springboard to an eventual international listing.”

Saudi Arabia relied on mainly domestic and regional investors to buy a 1.5% stake in Aramco after lukewarm interest from abroad.

Apple was toppled from the top slot of the best employer's by Rentokil and pushed into second place

Image: Aramco has ousted Apple as the world’s most valuable listed company

The sale comes as the Saudi government moves to diversify away from its reliance on oil to seek revenues from other areas, including tourism.

The Aramco valuation reflected a number of significant concerns among investors, according to analysts.

Among them is the Saudi state’s control of the company and the fact the listing is not taking place, initially at least, on a leading foreign stock exchange.

Others include worries over climate change and security, highlighted by drone and missile attacks on two Aramco processing sites in September, which were claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen.

Saudi Arabia also faced global condemnation after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

The lack of interest by international institutions led Aramco to scrap roadshows in New York and London and focus instead on marketing a stake to Saudi investors and wealthy Gulf Arab allies.

The government had promoted the investment as a patriotic duty, with Saudi banks offering people cheap credit to bid for shares.

Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said: “I cannot wait to see the faces of people who missed that opportunity and how they will be chewing their thumbs.”

Aramco has exclusive rights to produce and sell the kingdom’s energy reserves.

It was founded in 1933 with America’s Standard Oil, and became fully owned by Saudi Arabia by 1980.


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