Business World

Friday 15 November 2019

Banks in dark over Aramco's IPO

A man reads Aramco’s Twitter page after Saudi Arabia formally started its long-anticipated initial public offering of the state-run oil giant (Amr Nabil/AP)
A man reads Aramco’s Twitter page after Saudi Arabia formally started its long-anticipated initial public offering of the state-run oil giant (Amr Nabil/AP)

Saeed Azhar

Saudi Aramco's blockbuster listing remains shrouded in mystery, after the company finally announced its plans, with scant details disclosed and expert valuations varying wildly from around $1.2trn (€1.1trn) to $2.3trn.

The state oil giant, the world's most profitable company, fired the starting gun on a domestic initial public offering (IPO) on Sunday. However, potential investors were not given key details, such as how much of the company will be sold.

Now, fund managers are poring over bank research about the famously secretive company, but little certainty has been provided even by analysts from the Wall Street giants with roles in the Riyadh bourse listing, five sources told Reuters.

Analysts from banks working on the deal have met with Aramco's management in Dhahran over the past month to get more information.

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Yet their valuations of Aramco still vary by around $1trn. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a range of $1.2trn to $2.3trn, while EFG Hermes says $1.55trn to $2.1trn, two fund managers who have seen the research reports said.

Goldman Sachs - one of the IPO coordinators - has put the company's valuation at between $1.6trn and $2.3trn, two separate sources said. Credit Suisse's research offers a similarly wide range in value, one of the fund managers said.

Reuters

Irish Independent

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