Mon, 16 Dec 2019

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - What is being billed in the Saudi kingdom as the "Sale of the Century" - the initial public offering of shares in Saudi Aramco opened on Sunday.

The Kingdom is selling 3 billion new shares in Aramco, equating to 1.5% of the shares on issue, for between SR30 ($8) and SR32 per share, which will value the company at between $1.6 trillion and $1.7 trillion.

The number is slightly below the $2 trillion the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had touted originally, but nonetheless will make Saudi Aramco the richest company on earth.

A prospectus for the IPO was issued on 9 November, while the offering period for Institutional Subscribers which began on Sunday will close on 4 December.

The offering period for Individual Subscribers which also began on Sunday will end on 28 November.

"My first impression is that the price is a sensible compromise and that it will sell the IPO," Tarek Fadhallah, CEO of Nomura Asset Management in the Middle East, told Arab News on Sunday.

The final price of the shares will be set at the end of the "bookbuild," which will assess the institutional and individual investors bids.

The IPO will raise between $24 billion and $25.6 billion.

Saudi Aramco will assist the bookbuilding process by committing to a purchase of $1 billion in shares, to be set aside for an incentivisation program for employees.

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