It’s official - Saudi Aramco is the most valuable company in the world. Surpassing Apple, the global leader valued at around $1.2 trillion currently, Saudi Aramco’s IPO was able to hit the record valuation of $1.88 trillion on the first day of trading. The company listed 1.5 percent of its shares on Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul to help the kingdom diversify away from reliance on crude oil.
While the IPO turned Saudi Aramco into the biggest company in the world, many outside the region have qualms over the investor demand and its valuation sustainability – calling investor interest ‘manufactured’ and valuation ‘short lived and unsustainable’. This does not come as a surprise as the IPO was only hailed by local and regional retail investors.
Saudi’s might be happy with $1.88 trillion valuation of the company, but the critics are pointing to the fact that the valuation remains lower than what the kingdom had targeted taking into account the international investors - $2 trillion. Also while the Saudi oil giant finally opened its doors to the public, 98.5 percent still rests with the kingdom and the royal family.
Besides, market risks like supply, demand, price, production, security, climate change – also pointed out in Aramco’s prospectus earlier – are being raised as factors that would not let the valuation sustain for long.
Now that Saudi Aramco has become a public company, higher oil prices will be sought more than ever by the shareholders, which is still largely the kingdom itself. It is believed that this would be achieved by a stricter stance on oil production cuts to seek higher crude oil prices, which would shore up the share prices. However, if the company plans to increase share prices in future by increasing its own production, it should mean the other members of OPEC+ should brace for further cut in production, because in the end, it is about at least providing a floor to the crude oil prices – still the bread and butter of the kingdom.