*** ----> Saudi Aramco says foreigners grab ‘majority’ of share offering | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Saudi Aramco says foreigners grab ‘majority’ of share offering

AFP | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Oil giant Saudi Aramco said yesterday that international investors had snatched up the bulk of shares sold in its latest offering, which was set to raise $11.2 billion.

The secondary offering was expected to provide a shortterm boost to Saudi Arabia’s finances as the Gulf kingdom builds large-scale projects including resorts and stadiums, part of a reform drive to prepare for an eventual post-oil future.

“The majority of the shares constituting the institutional tranche of the Offering was allocated to investors located outside of the Kingdom,” the company said in a statement before the Saudi bourse reopened on Sunday.

Aramco ended trading on Sunday at 28.60 Saudi riyals ($7.63) per share, after opening at 27.95 riyals, giving it a market capitalisation of around $1.85 trillion.

Sources close to the situation told AFP that around 58 percent of shares were allocated to international investors, up from around 23 percent for the company’s initial public offering in 2019 which was the biggest flotation in history.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the private information, said around 70 percent of orders outside the local market came from the European Union and the United States, while others came from Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

Aramco, the mostly stateowned jewel of the Saudi economy, announced on May 30 that it would sell 1.545 billion shares, or approximately 0.64 percent of its issued shares, on the Saudi stock exchange.

It was widely seen as a test of foreign investor interest more than halfway through the kingdom’s campaign known as Vision 2030, whose ambitions are reflected in so-called giga-projects such as NEOM, a planned futuristic megacity in the desert.

On Friday Aramco said it would price its secondary offering at 27.25 Saudi riyals per share, at the low end of the range of 26.70 to 29 Saudi riyals announced on May 30.

Demand ‘stronger’

About 10 percent of the shares were offered to retail investors, drawing 1.3 million subscribers, Aramco said on Friday. One source close to the situation told AFP that retail coverage was 3.7 times and that total demand from institutional and retail investors was worth over $65 billion.

“The whole deal would have been covered a number of times by international demand. It was a lot stronger at this stage than it was at the IPO,” the source said, referring to the 2019 offering.

The source said it appeared to be the largest secondary offering in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region since 2000, the largest equity capital market transaction globally since 2021, and the largest offering in the Middle East since Aramco’s IPO, which ultimately raised $29.4 billion.