Saudi Aramco Born into Wealth
Dubbing Saudi Arabia “oil-rich” would be an understatement. Every gallon drilled from the kingdom’s inestimable desert reserves is used to fund infrastructure and public services, with copious sums of its revenue left over for the prince’s private kitty.
Saudi Aramco does the dirty work, a state-backed corporation with a state-approved monopoly on drilling and refining the black gold. Did we mention that Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil-producing nation in OPEC? Unsurprisingly, this is the world’s most profitable company. And now, following a gigantic initial public offering (IPO), it can lay claim to being the world’s most valuable listed company as well!
Saudi royalty still owns 98.5% of the oil giant, but a small slice now belongs to Middle Easterners. Millions of shares representing 1.5% ownership were initially priced at 32 riyals on the local Tadawul stock exchange yesterday. The market value of Saudi Aramco and the net worth of King Salmon rests exclusively on their trajectory, so this is a serious business!
Fortunately, they were up 10% by the closing bell to value the firm at $1.88 trillion, twice the value of Apple! That kind of money kicked off Arab rain dances at the Al-Yamama Palace and reduced climate change and human rights abuses to mere footnotes. But where does that valuation put Aramco in the trillion-dollar pecking order?
Top! Apple may have reached the promised land first, and Microsoft may have crowned the list for the longest, but $1.88 trillion is a ridiculous figure to compete against. PetroChina, another oil and gas behemoth, can also boast of hitting the big T on its opening day. However, Aramco is the first baby born into the elite club straight out the traps, thanks to the pricing of its IPO being confirmed as above a trillion dollars a week earlier.
Of course, the world and even the Saudi government is actively trying to diversify off fossil fuels. For all it’s worth, Aramco may be booted out of the group sooner than many believe!