Market rules ready for Aramco listing ‘by end of June’

Saudi Aramco’s Khurais oil processing facility, 160 km east of the capital Riyadh. The Kingdom has been overhauling its stock market rules to prepare for the local listing of state-owned Aramco. (AFP)
Updated 30 March 2018

Market rules ready for Aramco listing ‘by end of June’

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia expects to unveil by the end of June rules to prevent large share price drops in newly-listed companies, the final regulatory step for the listing of oil giant Saudi Aramco, the head of the kingdom’s stock market regulator said.

The mechanism, known as price stabilization, is common on developed markets and allows underwriters of an initial public offering (IPO) to use some of the company’s stock to bolster its price, should it fall in the days after it starts trading, or the volume of shares changing hands is weak.

The Kingdom has been overhauling its stock market rules to prepare for the local listing of state-owned Aramco, which is hoping to raise $100 billion or more through a 5 percent stake sale later this year.

Saudi authorities have also said they want Aramco, whose IPO is billed as the world’s largest, to have an international listing, although no decision has been made on the location. This listing could be delayed until Aramco starts trading on the Tadawul, as the Saudi stock exchange is known.

The Capital Market Authority (CMA) issued updated rules in the last couple of months covering how securities are sold in the kingdom and how the offer price of an IPO is calculated using the bookbuild method, Mohammed El Kuwaiz, chairman of the market regulator, told a media event in New York late Wednesday.

“Once (the price stabilization guideline) is issued, we can then say that the Saudi market will be fully amenable to accommodate an offering of the size of Saudi Aramco, or indeed of any size,” he said.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the event, El Kuwaiz said drafting of the regulation was at “an advanced stage,” and it will be issued before the end of the first half of the year.

The CMA was also expecting to start work by the end of the year on rules governing dual-listings on the Saudi stock market that would be sent out for market feedback early in 2019, El Kuwaiz said.

The timetable could be brought forward if a company approached it wanting to list on another market, he added.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 09 August 2020

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.