Saudi Aramco, which just launched the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO), is now the largest listed company in the world. Aramco’s public debut listed 1.5 percent of its shares on the Saudi Tadawul, which were sold to raise $25.6 billion. Shares of the state-owned oil company then rose 10 percent in early deals in Riyadh, giving the oil giant a valuation of $1.88 trillion. That is higher than both Microsoft and Apple.
Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said, “We are happy on the results today. And you have seen the market responds to our results, the company will continue to be the leader globally when it comes to the energy sector and at the same time we are looking at sustained and growing dividends to our investors. At the same time we continue our growth strategy, increasing profitability across cycles.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman initially floated the idea of the IPO in 2016 as part of his Vision 2030 program aimed at transforming the Saudi economy. The crown prince first suggested a valuation of $2 trillion for the company, but that figure was reduced to a range of between $1.5 trillion and $1.7 trillion by financial advisors and banks earlier this year. Earlier this year, Aramco opened its account books for the first time to increase transparency ahead of the IPO. It reported $111.1 billion net profit for 2018, up 46 percent on the previous year, and $356 billion in revenue.
The IPO came despite Aramco being hit by a string of attacks on its facilities. The latest was a drone attack in September that halted the flow of 5.7 million barrels of oil per day, more than half of its output. It took weeks for the Saudi government to restore capacity to pre-strike levels.