Saudi Aramco offers nearly $11.5 billion in new stock for sale

Daily News
3 Min Read
Saudi Aramco offers nearly $11.5 billion in new stock for sale

The logo of Aramco is seen as security personnel walk before the start of a press conference by Aramco at the Plaza Conference Center in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia November 3, 2019. 

Hamad I Mohammed | Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled Aramco said it would sell some $11.5 billion worth of additional stock in an offering that begins Sunday, as Riyadh tackles pressure to raise funds for an array of wide-ranging projects aimed at diversifying its fossil fuel-based economy.

Aramco will offer 1.545 billion shares in a price range between 26.70 and 29 Saudi riyals per share, according to a company filing. At the midpoint of that range, the sale would total nearly $11.5 billion.

The sale represents a follow-on offering, after Aramco initially entered the public markets in 2019 and raised $29.4 billion in the world’s largest ever initial public offering.

Questions have risen over the long-term profitability of the legacy oil and gas giant amid a broader global transition to green energy and decarbonization. In January this year, Aramco halted previous plans to raise its crude production capacity from 12 million barrels per day to 13 million barrels, in a move that Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman later pinned on the energy transition. Aramco has been focusing on gas and hydrogen, as part of a plan to widen its production streams.

In the short term, Aramco’s appeal to investors comes by way of its dividend yield, which stood at 6.6% on May 30, according to Factset data — compared to 4.2% at Chevron and 3.3% at ExxonMobil. Aramco lifted its base dividend for the fourth quarter to $20.3 billion, and boosted its performance-linked dividend to $10.8 billion.

A further offering from Aramco, the historical backbone of Saudi Arabia’s finances, would still barely dent the infrastructure costs of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification program, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016. Just one of the giga projects under the plan, the futuristic eco-city of Neom, is estimated to come with a $500 billion price tag.

Saudi Arabia owns more than 82% of Aramco prior to the sale, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

— CNBC’s Spencer Kimball contributed to this report

Share This Article
Leave a comment