Saudi Aramco has been forced to aim for an initial public offer some way short of its intended US$2trn market valuation and has cancelled its European and US investor roadshows.
The Saudi state oil colossus is looking to raise between US$1.6trn and US$1.7trn, it said in a statement on Sunday, several hundred billion dollars shy of the goal that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was aiming for.
On Monday, Saudi Aramco called off investor events in London, according to reports, having already nixed roadshows planned for North America and Japan over the weekend.
Instead, Crown Prince ‘MbS’ is relying on wealthy locals to snap up the shares, helped by a loosening of lending regulations for domestic banks.
So the Saudi Aramco IPO is now just a mechanism to convert local bank savings into government-backed equity, with little relevance to global markets?
— Sid Verma (@_SidVerma) November 18, 2019
Some 3bn shares are on the block, or a 1.5% stake in the whole company, at an offer price range at 30 to 32 riyal per share.
The final price will be set on 5 December, with trading scheduled to begin on Riyadh’s Tadawul exchange a week after.
However, if it is completed at the above levels Aramco’s IPO, it would still be more than seven times bigger than the previous record flotation, Alibaba’s US$21.8bn listing five years ago.