PARIS/BRUSSELS: The European Union will answer tariff threats by the United States against France “as one” and urged Washington toward dialogue, an EU spokesman said on Tuesday.
“As in all other trade-related matters, the EU will act and react as one and it will remain united,” said EU commission spokesman Daniel Rosario after the US threatened tariffs on French goods on Monday.
The threat was in response to a French digital services tax that Washington says is discriminatory as it singles out US tech giants such as Google and Facebook.
French Finance minister Bruno Le Maire earlier said Tuesday that Paris would ensure a “strong” response in the event of US tariffs as an Internet-inspired tax and trade conflict heated up.
Le Maire told Radio Classique that threatened US tariffs on French goods such as sparkling wine, yogurt and Roquefort cheese were “inacceptable” and warned Washington that the European Union could generate a robust reply.
“We were in contact yesterday with the European Union to ensure that if there are new American tariffs, there will be a European response, a strong response,” Le Maire said.
Saudi Aramco shares open at 35.2 riyals after world’s biggest IPO
Aramco has priced its IPO at 32 riyals per share
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RIYADH: Saudi Aramco’s shares began trading domestically on Wednesday, after the energy behemoth raised $25.6 billion in the world’s biggest initial public offering.
Aramco has priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s indicative debut price is seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data shows.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company. Watch the livestream marking Aramco’s opening trading:
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.
The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.