Saudi Aramco shares surged the maximum permitted 10% above their initial public offering (IPO) price on their Riyadh stock market debut on Wednesday, closing in on the $2 trillion valuation long sought by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The shares leaped to 35.2 riyal ($9.39) each, up from the IPO price of 32 riyals and at the daily limit of price moves allowed by the Tadawul exchange.
That gives the state-owned oil giant a market value of about $1.88 trillion, comfortably making it the world’s most valuable listed company, although it will have one of the smallest “free floats” of publicly tradeable shares, at just 1.5%.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) raised a record $25.6 billion in its IPO last week, giving it a market value of around $1.7 trillion.
The flotation, a major challenge for the Riyadh stock exchange, propels the bourse into the world’s top 10 by value of listed companies.
Saudi Arabia relied on mainly domestic and regional investors to buy Aramco shares after lukewarm interest from abroad.
The $25.6 billion of proceeds beat Chinese tech firm Alibaba’s $25 billion listings in 2014.
“This is a successful IPO and the Aramco listing will add depth to the local market by providing exposure to a vital sector of Saudi Arabia’s economy,” said Bassel Khatoun, managing director, frontier and MENA at Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity.
“We are hopeful that Saudi Aramco uses the Tadawul listing as a springboard to an eventual international listing.”