Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was hoping to pull off a $2-trillion-valuation for Saudi Aramco, but it seems as though reality won't meet his expectations.
The state-owned giant has set a price range for its listing, implying its worth to be between $1.6 trillion and $1.7 trillion. This price tag is well below the initial target set, but it doesn't mean it's not huge. At those valuations, the partial sale of Aramco would still be the biggest IPO in history.
On Sunday, the oil giant said it aims to sell 1.5 percent of its 200 billion shares at a price between 30 riyals ($8.00) and 32 riyals ($8.53) each. Saudi citizens are reportedly being offered 0.5 percent of the company alone.
With the aforementioned price range, the world's most profitable company could be worth between 6 trillion Saudi riyals ($1.6 trillion) and 6.4 trillion Saudi riyals ($1.7 trillion). With the higher price range, the share sale would raise $25.6 billion, beating Alibaba's stock market debut in 2014 which raised $25 billion in share sales.
As previously stated, Aramco plans to issue shares on the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh. The oil giant does not plan to market its domestic IPO abroad, sources familiar with the matter told Al Jazeera.
The IPO comes following years-long delays. Saudi Arabia first announced its plans to partially sell Aramco over three years ago. Since then, the planned listing has been shelved multiple times, but things are finally coming together.
With the partial sale of Aramco, MBS hopes to raise billions of dollars which would, in turn, be invested in non-oil sectors and generate employment opportunities.
It all goes back to low oil prices which have hit the Saudi economy hard, forcing the kingdom to cut subsidies and strive to diversify its oil-reliant economy. Saudi Arabia has been shifting gears in recent years to reduce its economic reliance on the oil sector. It's been investing billions in other sectors, namely entertainment, in hopes of generating reliable revenue streams from those industries. The partial sale of Aramco would potentially give the kingdom more funds to work with to further develop other divisions.