Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

The Historic IPO Was No Dream

The Historic IPO Was No Dream

Sunday, 8 December, 2019 - 09:15
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Every Saudi success story endures a large deal of skepticism before it proves itself and goes on to set an example in goal setting and achieving.

This time, the success story undergoing scrutiny is the Aramco IPO. Disbelief has haunted all the Kingdom’s reforms on various levels as though to hint that Saudis aren’t able to cross the finish line with their projects. But while others were focused on the obstacles ahead, Saudis were dedicated to attain successes in their initiatives and programs.

In the 1,429 days-- from the moment Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman floated his plans for the oil giant’s IPO as part of the Kingdom's economic reform program, until the IPO’s closing last Thursday, when it recorded a world-beating subscription rate-- the record of doubt in the ability of the Saudi government to proceed with this subscription has been played on repeat. International media scrambled to launch frantic campaigns to prove that this offering is nothing but a wild dream doomed to failure.

Fake news headlines flooded the media scope with artificial skepticism. But all that did not slow the Saudis from moving forward to achieve what is now known as the world’s biggest IPO.

Aramco, since its founding some eight decades ago, has only gained historic value as the world’s largest oil exporter which is responsible for 10 percent of global production. Last year, it was dubbed the world’s most profitable company with its revenues outdoing giants like Apple and JPMorgan Chase. Its oil reserves, in the past year, were five times greater than those of these companies combined: Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Chevron and Total. What is more is that much of Aramco’s oil is found easily on land or in shallow waters. Last but not least, Aramco in 2018 alone brought in $ 111 billion in net revenues.

Saudi Arabia has a large economic diversification program based on sustainability, opening new economic sectors and developing labor markets through strategic diversification. Aramco's IPO is only one of the tools employed to reach the goal of economic diversification.

Aramco’s IPO spells only the beginning of mega investment opportunities that will be available to local and international investors.

What is more is that the Kingdom, four years after launching its Vision 2030, continues to deliver on its promises. The IPO’s success is yet another stark example of the determination to implement that ambitious vision.

As for those who missed the subscription and were apprehensive and skeptical, they will return to subscribe in the future, but only after the value of the company would have reached two trillion dollars. Even if late, they will be welcomed to join the crown jewel of global oil companies.

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