RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s oil company Aramco began trading for the first time on Wednesday, gaining 10% in the first moments on the market and pushing its worth to $1.88 trillion, making it the most valuable listed company in the world.
The state-owned oil giant started trading on the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange after a mammoth $25.6 billion initial public offering that set the record as the biggest ever in history. Trading for Aramco shares began at 10:30 a.m. in Riyadh.
The company had announced a sale of 1.5% of its shares at 32 Saudi riyals a share, or what is $8.53.
At a pre-trading auction earlier in the morning, Saudi Aramco’s shares reached its 10% cap at 35.2 riyals, or $9.39 a share, according to Saudi state TV.
This makes Aramco more valuable than the top five oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP — combined.
Aramco is selling 0.5% of its shares to individual investors — most of whom are Saudi nationals — and 1% to institutional investors, most of which are Saudi or based in the Gulf.
The company has exclusive rights to produce and sell the kingdom’s energy reserves. It was founded in 1933 with America’s Standard Oil, and became fully owned by Saudi Arabia by 1980.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to use the money raised from the sale of a sliver of the kingdom’s crown jewel to diversify the country’s economy and fund major national projects that create jobs for the millions of young Saudis entering the workforce.
Aya Batrawy, The Associated Press