DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia – Analysts warn Aramco investors to be keen to consider Saudi Arabia’s influence and control.
As the biggest oil company all over the world, Saudi Aramco announced on Saturday that about 5% of its shares would be portioned to the individual investors on the firm’s initial public offering. The public listing of the state-owned oil company has long been awaited in the market. However, a lot of analysts warn investors to consider the kingdom’s influence and control of the company.
According to the energy analyst and director at Raymond James, Pavel Molchanov, one of the biggest issues when it comes to Aramco, is that everything about the firm is under the control of the royal family of Saudi Arabia. He also said that the votes of the board and opinions of the shareholders wouldn’t make any difference.
On the other hand, Aramco sent an email saying that it will answer all the queries from CNBC regarding its concerns on governance at the earliest opportunity.
Saudi Aramco announced allocating 0.5% of its shares to individual investors on Saturday. The IPO is expected to launch on the Tadawul exchange in Saudi Arabia in December.
Based on the valuation of analysts, the firm’s range is approximately between $1.2 trillion to $2.3 trillion. When the first idea of listing Saudi Aramco was touted in 2016, the Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman valued the oil firm at an approximate $2 trillion.
Even valued at a much lower range, there are still a lot of possibilities making the listing of Saudi Aramco as one of the biggest stock listings in market history. It is set to surpass the $25 billion valuations that the Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba had in 2014, which is still considered as the largest IPO as of date.
However, the IPO might be a bit too small to make it more interesting for a lot of asset managers, Molchanov said.
He told during a discussion with CNBC on Monday that the government has the power to do whatever, including curtailing production, raising production, or investing one some geography over the other. He also added that the government wouldn’t be too keen about what private shareholders wish to see.
According to a State Street’s senior global multi-asset strategist, Daniel Gerard, Aramco investors will have to take the kingdom’s political influence into account. He also said that while the US is a larger producer, Saudi Arabia is still the largest group that can influence the oil market, all on its own.