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Saudi Aramco now most valuble company after share surge

By Hugh Wilson

Oil giant's shares leap by 10 per cent on first day of trading

Shares in Saudi Aramco soared 10 per cent as the oil giant made its debut on the Riyadh stock market on Wednesday, December 11.

The surge was the maximum permitted above the company’s initial public offering (IPO) price. It pushed the value of the Saudi state-controlled business towards the $2tr (£1.5tr, €1.8tr) mark coveted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The shares hit 35.2 riyal ($9.39), up from the IPO price of 32 riyal. This gives Saudi Aramco a valuation of $1.88tr and makes it by far the world’s most valuable listed company.

By comparison, tech giant Apple is valued at around $1.2tr.

Saudi Aramco raised $25.6bn in its record IPO last week, beating the $25bn raised by Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba in 2014.

Aramco Chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan said: “The government was the only shareholder. Today, the company has more than 5 million shareholders.

"Today, all Saudi Aramco employees and every person in the kingdom has the right to be proud," he said. "This IPO is considered the largest IPO in the history of humankind.”

The proceeds of the IPO are likely to be channelled into the country’s Public Investment Fund, designed to steer the Saudi economy away from an over-reliance on oil.

Although the IPO is considered a success, initial ambitions to list 5 per cent of the company had to be scaled back. Eventually 1.5 per cent was offered for sale.

The IPO was largely supported by local and regional investors after foreign institutions balked at initial valuations.

FURTHER READING: Saudi Aramco raises $25.6bn in record IPO

FURTHER READING: Saudi Aramco float shuns global banks for local investors

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