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Over half of Aramco share sale allocated to foreign investors – sources

In Technology
June 08, 2024

By Maha El Dahan

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia placed over half of an $11.2 billion share sale in Aramco with foreign investors, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia has been seeking to lure international investment to pour tens of billions of dollars into projects to diversify away from its reliance on oil. Yet foreign investment has repeatedly missed targets.

“There were multiple orders from the U.S., UK, Hong Kong and Japan,” one of the sources said.

International demand for the secondary share sale was greater than for Aramco’s IPO in 2019, sources had previously told Reuters.

Aramco said on Friday shares were priced at 27.25 riyals ($7.27) after the company set a price range of 26.70-29.00 riyals.

The secondary offering, codenamed Project Bond by the banks involved, took months of planning.

As a result of the transaction, more than 120 new international investors will be added to Aramco, one of the sources said.

“The overall demand for the offering was greater than $65 billion across global blue chip institutions and the domestic retail offering,” he said.

Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 is funding endeavours as diverse as electric vehicles to building futuristic cities in the desert, mainly via its Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The $925 billion sovereign fund, after scaling back some of its flagship giga-projects, aims to sharpen its focus to drive forward the vision.

Proceeds from the share sale are likely to be funneled to the PIF, sources and analysts have said, though funds could also help plug the kingdom’s budget deficit which has risen as the oil price has weakened.

(Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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