Aramco's Offer Price Makes Its Share Sale The World's Largest IPO

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Saudi Aramco considers pricing at top to become worlds biggest IPO

The Saudi government initially discussed floating 5% of the company in 2018 in a deal that would raise as much as $100 billion.

Saudi Aramco's shares have been priced at 32 riyals ($8.53) each against an earlier indicative price range of 30-32 riyals per share, the sources said.

Saudi Arabia also has to rely on domestic interest in its oil giant, and possibly on large institutional investors from its Persian Gulf friends, as foreign fund managers have not been too keen to invest in the world's most profitable oil company.

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However, it remains to be seen whether the share prices rises or falls when trading begins. Aramco hasn't formally set the final price, and it could change depending on the final order levels, the people said. Saudi banks also offered citizens cheap credit to bid for the shares following a nationwide advertising campaign.

Although the US$1.7 trillion valuation at pricing at the top of the range would make Aramco the most valuable listed company in the world, the valuation will still be US$300 billion short of the coveted US$2-trillion valuation that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sought for years.

The kingdom's plan to sell part of the company is part of a wider economic overhaul aimed at raising new streams of revenue for the oil-dependent country.

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It has been reported that Saudi Arabia are threatening to boost oil production unilaterally if some OPEC nations continue to defy the group's output curbs, cartel officials say. Brent crude is trading at just over $63 a barrel.

Some of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia have been obliged to invest, including billionaire prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who was among the businessmen locked up in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton Hotel during an "anti-corruption" crackdown in 2017. Many Western investors remain cautious, according to reports, due to the company's managing practices, as well as the ability of the group to protect its crucial oil facilities, AFP said, alluding to fears of possible recurrences of the 14 September drone attack on two Aramco oil plants that reduced the nation's oil production to almost a half for more than a week. There are no immediate plans for an global listing. Two key Aramco processing sites were targeted by drones and missiles in September, an attack that was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen but which the US blamed on Iran. Iran has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The IPO came as Saudi Arabia met with Russian Federation and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in Vienna to discuss oil production.

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