Saudi Aramco becomes world’s largest listed company in historic IPO

Shares in Saudi Aramco beat expectations on their first day of trading on Saudi Arabia’s domestic exchange, surging by 10% to give the oil giant a valuation of US$1.88 trillion.

Aramco shares rose to $9.39 on Wednesday after initially opening at $8.53 during its initial public offering (IPO) last week. The state-run Saudi company listed 1.5% of its shares on the Tadawul exchange in its long-awaited market debut.

The IPO raised a record $25.6 billion, just edging out the $25 billion raised by Chinese tech firm Alibaba in 2014 to make Aramco the world’s largest listed company, despite being one of the smallest ‘free floats’ of publicly tradeable shares at 1.5%.

Aramco’s current evaluation is just short of the $2 trillion long sought by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi Crown Prince’s ambition to transform the Saudi economy by 2030 has been centred on raising funds through the Aramco float.

“We are happy on the results today,” Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC at the market open. “And you have seen the market responds to our results, the company will continue to be the leader globally when it comes to the energy sector and at the same time we are looking at sustained and growing dividends to our investors.”