Saudi Aramco shares briefly hit US$2 trillion before easing

  • Markets
  • Thursday, 12 Dec 2019

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco's shares opened up 10% in their second trading session on Thursday, briefly sending the state-owned oil company's market value above the $2 trillion target sought by Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The shares hit 38.7 riyals ($10.32) before easing to around 37 riyals after about 15 minutes of trade, up 5%.

On their debut on the Riyadh market on Wednesday the shares gained the bourse's maximum 10%.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) became the world's biggest initial public offering (IPO) last week by raising $25.6 billion to top the $25 billion listing in 2014 of and Chinese tech firm Alibaba.

Still, that was well below the Crown Prince's plan announced in 2016 which called for raising as much as $100 billion via international and domestic listings of a 5% stake.

Muted interest from foreign investors meant Aramco had to cancel roadshows in New York and London, selling just a 1.5% stake in Riyadh and relying mainly on domestic and regional buyers.

Bernstein analysts initiated their coverage of the stock on with an "Underperform" rating on Thursday, estimating its value at around $1.36 trillion, below Aramco's initial $1.7 trillion valuation.

U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil is worth less than $300 billion.

"Saudi Aramco is the largest, most profitable oil company in the world - but size is not everything," the Bernstein analysts wrote, flagging the risk of slow net income growth if oil prices stay flat. - Reuters

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