Oil Bounty

Bankers set Saudi Aramco share price in secondary offering

The offering is likely to yield $11.2 billion rather than the $12 billion previously mooted

Amin H. Nasser, President & CEO of Aramco. (Photo: Getty Images)

While Saudi Arabia’s impending sale of a second chunk of shares in Aramco looks like it will be among the world’s biggest stock offerings in years, the deal is falling slightly shy of expectations.

After almost a week of marketing the sale in London, New York and other financial capitals, the kingdom’s bankers told investors they plan to price shares of the world’s biggest oil company at 27.25 Saudi riyals ($7.27) each, the Wall Street Journal reports.

That compares to the target range of 26.70 to 29 riyals and means the offering should yield $11.2 billion rather than the $12 billion previously mooted.

The reduced bounty could mean more budget tightening for some of the country’s mega-projects, such as Neom, that the offering is meant to finance, especially as oil prices slide below $80 a barrel.

Sustaining the ambitious pace of construction envisioned by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would require crude oil prices closer to $100 a barrel, according to calculations by the International Monetary Fund cited by Bloomberg.

Among the stock offering’s attractions for investors are the steady and increasing dividend payouts Aramco offers relative to its global oil competitors.

The company carries a dividend yield of close to 7%, higher than the 3.4% at Exxon and 4.2% at Chevron, the Journal notes.

Subscribe now to
The Daily Circuit

The Daily Circuit newsletter (coming soon!) connects doers and dealmakers in the Middle East and those who care about the region from afar. Sign up today to be among the first in the know.