Saudi Aramco shares jump 10% on stock market debut, pushing worth to $1.88 trillion

The listing makes Saudi Aramco comfortably the world’s largest listed company, more valuable than the top five oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP — combined.
Wednesday 11/12/2019
Participants attend the official ceremony marking the debut of Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO) on Riyadh's stock market, December 11. (Reuters)
Participants attend the official ceremony marking the debut of Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO) on Riyadh's stock market, December 11. (Reuters)

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s oil company Aramco began trading for the first time on Wednesday, gaining 10% in the first moments on the market and pushing its worth to $1.88 trillion, making it the most valuable listed company in the world.

The shares opened at 35.2 riyal ($9.39) apiece, 10% above their initial public offering price (IPO) of 32 riyals.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) raised a record $25.6 billion in its IPO last week, giving it a market value of around $1.7 trillion.

This makes is comfortably the world’s largest listed company — more valuable than the top five oil companies (Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP) combined — although it will have one of the smallest “free floats” of publicly tradeable shares, at just 1.5%. 

The listing of Aramco, with its huge capital value, boosts the Saudi bourse — known as Tadawul — to the ranks of the world’s top ten. In the first few seconds of trade, orders for 16 million shares were placed.

Saudi Arabia relied on mainly domestic and regional investors to buy Aramco shares after lukewarm interest from abroad.

The $25.6 billion of proceeds beat Chinese tech firm Alibaba’s $25 billion listing in 2014.

The listing is the bedrock of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul Saudi Arabia’s oil-reliant economy.

The company 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.

(AW and agencies)