State-run oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., also known as Saudi Aramco, which was expected to face some obstacles as a result of its byzantine mix of private and public financing, also considered offering its shares on exchanges in London and Toronto, but abandoned plans to list its stock on exchanges in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, the Wall Street Journal first reported Monday.
Saudi officials pegged Aramco’s value at $2 trillion, Reuters reported. The Dhahran-based company, which pays a royalty of 20 percent and a government tax of 85 percent, planned to sell only a 5 percent stake on its exchange of choice.
As for the banks leading the IPO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley have both signed on, the Financial Times recently reported, citing “several people briefed” on the process. The latter investment bank has already made a name for itself by launching the record-breaking IPO for Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Limited on the NYSE. Still, Alibaba’s valuation at the time it went public—a historic $25 billion—was dwarfed by expectations for Aramco.
The Saudi firm has long dominated the industry, claiming to pump 10.2 million barrels per day—more than 2.5 times the daily production of the next largest producer, Russia’s state-owned Rosneft Oil Company, and more than four times that of the largest American gas company, ExxonMobil Corp.
In line with pledges by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to rein in oil output, effectively jacking up the price of the commodity from its steep mid-2014 decline, Aramco began lowering its production in January by nearly half a million barrels per day. The production cut may prove ineffective, however, as shale output and crude stock in the U.S. have skyrocketed and stood to flood the market with new supply, maintaining downward pressure on prices.