Saudi Aramco IPO gets US$44.3b in bids so far, says lead manager

The Saudi Aramco logo is pictured at the company’s oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, October 12, 2019. — Reuters pic
The Saudi Aramco logo is pictured at the company’s oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, October 12, 2019. — Reuters pic

RIYADH, Nov 29 — Saudi Aramco has received bids for its shares totalling US$44.3 billion so far, lead manager Samba Capital said today, putting its initial public offering on track to be over-subscribed.

The state-owned oil giant plans to sell 1.5 per cent of the company’s shares for as much as 96 billion riyals (US$25.6 billion), a deal which would give it a market value of US$1.7 trillion.

Overall demand so far totals 1.7 times the amount of shares on offer, with institutional investors having until Dec 4 to put their bids in.

In the first update on institutional investor interest in the listing, Samba said it had received bids from them worth 118.86 billion riyal(US$31.70 billion).

The retail tranche of the offering – which closed to subscribers yesterday – has had bids totalling 47.4 billion riyals (US$12.64 billion), around 1.5 times the amount of shares on offer to retail investors. While comfortably oversubscribed, the level of interest is relatively muted compared to other Saudi IPOs.

When Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank listed in 2014 the retail portion was 23 times over-subscribed.

Aramco is relying on local and regional demand to pull off its listing, after cancelling marketing roadshows outside the Gulf region due to a lack of interest from foreign institutional investors.

Sources told Reuters this week that the sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi and Kuwait planned to invest in the IPO, which could be the world’s biggest if it tops the US$25 billion record set by China’s Alibaba in 2014. — Reuters

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