Aramco List Prospectus Outlines Investment Risks

12.11.2019 -

Saudi Aramco published the long expected prospectus for its planned listing on in Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange on Nov. 9. While 650 pages long, commentators said the document was short on details of the offering.

According to press reports, bankers are trying to encourage the Saudi Arabia’s leadership to move toward a valuation of around $1.75 trillion rather than the $2 trillion Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been seeking.

Analysts have said they believe the company is worth no more than $1.2-1 trillion. Up to Nov. 11, domestic demand for the flotation reportedly has been brisk, in any case, as wealthy Saudi families are being encouraged to buy a stake as a patriotic duty.

World’s largest oil producer, with output of 10.3 million barrels of crude per day in 2018, Saudi Aramco is also seen as the most profitable company with 2018 net income of $111 billion.

Potential risks for investors are said to have been awarded a fair amount of space in the document, with possible threats to Aramco’s business running the gamut from climate change to social unrest in the Middle East.

The September attack on the oil producer’s refinery is listed as an example of the effects that terrorism could have, as this temporarily reduced the company’s output by half. The prospectus said, however, that the recent incident would not have an immediate material impact, despite the third-quarter fall in year-on-year net profit to $21.3 billion from $30.3 billion.  

Other described risks include litigation and the possibility that the state could order the company not to carry out projects deemed to be inconsistent with Aramco’s “immediate commercial objectives or profit maximization.” Another negative factor could crop up if Saudi Arabia stopped pegging the riyal to the dollar.

Aramco’s envisioned flotation is expected to encompass two stages, with the second launch foreseen to be in another country. London and Tokyo have been identified as the two most likely locations, with Tokyo now said to have taken the lead.