Saudi Arabian Oil Giant Gets Long-awaited IPO Under Way
Saudi Arabia on Sunday began offering shares of the petroleum giant Saudi Aramco on a local stock exchange, with reported plans to take the initial public offering to larger exchanges farther afield. The goal of the IPO is not only to raise funds for a kingdom-wide redevelopment plan dubbed Vision 2030, aimed at moving the country away from crude as a sole source of income, but also to define a value for what has been reported to be the world’s most profitable company. Saudi Aramco began life as the Arabian-American Oil Company, but by 1976, the House of Saud had either nationalized or bought any outstanding shares. It is the first time since then that the royal family is allowing outsiders to own parts of the Dharan-based oil giant, whose output is estimated to be some 10 million barrels a day. According to some reports, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seeking a $2 trillion valuation for the company.