Saudis scramble to raise cash for Saudi Aramco share sale

Aramco said it plans to sell an unspecified number of shares on the Saudi stock exchange Tadawul. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

Saudis scramble to raise cash for Saudi Aramco share sale

RIYADH: From tapping lenders to selling personal assets, Saudis are scrambling to raise cash to invest in Saudi Aramco stocks after the oil giant announced its blockbuster market debut.

The company said it plans to sell an unspecified number of shares on the Saudi stock exchange Tadawul. Retail investors in Saudi Arabia still appear to be salivating at the prospect of owning a piece of the world’s most profitable company.

“Some (Saudis) have started to sell other stocks in preparation to buy Aramco (shares),” said Ibrahim Ahmed, a Saudi energy industry analyst who is also considering investing his savings.

“People look at it as a sound investment. (But) I’m aware that it is a long-term investment that is good to have in a portfolio and not some kind of lottery ticket.”

Fahad Hashemi, portfolio manager at the Riyadh-based Middle East Financial Investment Co, said his firm had a “strong intention” to participate.

Eid Al-Shamri, chief executive of investment bank Ithraa Capital, said some Saudis were considering selling their homes or borrowing money to purchase shares.

“This is definitely a serious event that will be recorded in the history of Saudi Arabia,” Shamri told Bloomberg News. “A lot of people are talking about it. But what is the extent of the people’s participation? We are tightening our belts.”

In a 21-page document released by the company, the company called the IPO a “unique investment proposition.”

Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser said the company was committed to offer shareholders “long-term value creation.”

To promote participation by all sections of Saudi society, divorced women or widows with minors will be eligible to receive bonus shares, local media reported.


Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

Updated 15 November 2019

Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

  • Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade
  • Alibaba Chief Executive Officer said the group wanted to participate in Hong Kong’s future

HONG KONG: Chinese technology giant Alibaba on Friday confirmed plans to list in Hong Kong in what it called a $13 billion vote of confidence in the turbulent city’s markets and a step forward in its plans to go global.
The enormous IPO, which Hong Kong had lobbied for, will come as a boost for authorities wrestling with pro-democracy protests that have tarnished the financial hub’s image for order and security and hammered its stock market.
Alibaba will offer 500 million shares at a maximum of HK$188 apiece to retail investors, the company said. The number eight is considered auspicious in China.
Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade after insurance giant AIA raised $20.5 billion in 2010.
Alibaba had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city’s long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war. The US and China are now working on sealing a partial trade deal.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer, said the group wanted to “contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong.”
“During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” he said.
The firm’s shares are already traded in New York. A second listing in Hong Kong is expected to curry favor with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Baidu to Wall Street.
In the statement, Zhang said that when Alibaba went public in 2014 it “missed out on Hong Kong with regret.”
Mainland authorities have also stepped up moves to attract such listings, including launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.
The listing comes after the city’s exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city.
“The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth,” the company said.
It has long been expected to launch a multibillion-dollar stock listing in Hong Kong but appeared to postpone the offering because of political and economic turmoil.
Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng Index rose 0.48 percent in morning trading following the announcement
Chinese shoppers set new records for spending on Monday’s annual 24-hour “Singles’ Day” buying spree, despite an economic slowdown in the country and the worries over the US trade war.
It said consumers spent $38.3 billion on its platforms over that stretch, up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.
Alibaba also said it saw record amounts of cross-border sales, underlining its plans to expand globally.
“Globalization is the future of Alibaba Group. We firmly believe the marriage of digital technology and commerce will bring about unprecedented change that will not be limited by borders,” Zhang said.