Saudi Aramco IPO may drag real estate prices down

  • Nov 12, 2019
  • Arab News

JEDDAH: The long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) for Aramco is expected to attract Saudi individuals and investors thanks to encouraging locals to invest in the giant company.

Each Saudi will be entitled to one free share for every 10 shares, provided that they do not dispose of the shares for 180 days from the date of listing. The number of shares for each Saudi investor shall not exceed 100.

Jamal Bennoun, a Saudi columnist who writes on economic issues, told Arab News that the Kingdom’s economy had entered a new stage. This would attract small investors and individuals as well as companies to buy shares from Aramco, especially since millions of shares will be offered by one of three mega-companies in oil and gas in the world.

Bennoun believes that the real estate sector will be the most affected by the IPO since people are looking for liquidity to buy shares and thus land prices are expected to drop. This, he said, would be of benefit to people wanting to buy land or units at less than market price.

Olfat Kabbani, a Saudi businesswomen investing in the downstream sector, and also the deputy head of the industrial committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the Aramco IPO is the largest economic event in the world now and described it as an important step in the economic reform led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

As an investor in the local market, she believes that this move is a great opportunity for Saudi citizens to invest in one of the world’s leading companies in the oil and gas industry. She is optimistic since Aramco confirmed that there will be incentives for the first subscribers and access to free shares.

Through this move the Saudi government has considered citizens as partners in building the economy and is making history by opening up this opportunity, which will diversify the economy, enhance the market and create more job opportunities, she said.

A number of businessmen in Makkah also believe that the Kingdom is going through the most important economic event in its recent years, the media center of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) reported.

“This event will establish a new history in the evolution of the Saudi economy, enhance the performance of related sectors, improve the financial situation of the citizens, and build a dynamic and diverse Saudi economy within the ambitious Vision 2030,” the businessmen said.

Through this move the Saudi government has considered citizens as partners in building the economy.

Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki, MCCI chairman of the board of directors, explained that Aramco’s plan to sell part of its shares in local and international markets will give the Saudi economic sector greater transparency and will contribute to fighting corruption as Aramco is one of the most profitable companies in the world.

He said that the Kingdom was ranked first globally in the number of reforms and development processes and stood out as one of the most progressing countries as per a World Bank report, spearheading 190 countries. He said that this reflected the achievements of Vision 2030.

Nayef Meshal Al-Zaidi, MCCI deputy chairman, said: “It is an established fact that Saudi Aramco is the world’s largest integrated energy and chemical company. It produces about one in every eight barrels of crude oil produced globally. It also operates on the most reliable operational system, making this initial public offering a great opportunity for a safe subscription for shares.”

He said that the world is considering Aramco’s IPO with the intention to advance toward safe investment. “The company’s IPO at this time will be effective in attracting global funds to invest in the safe Kingdom, and this will silence those who are poisoning the world’s ears. The world today races to buy shares of the world’s biggest energy company, Saudi Aramco,” he said.

Marwan Abbas Shaaban, MCCI deputy chairman, stressed that “the IPO is a great opportunity for the Kingdom to offer safe investment on a silver platter by placing the Saudi jewel, Saudi Aramco, in the hands of its people to make direct profits.”

“Many sectors will benefit from this scheme and its impact on the public scene is visible,” he said. “The biggest beneficiary will be the Saudi economy and the financial market, which will undoubtedly double in size. The IPO will also increase the overall investment rate in the Kingdom, therefore contributing to the achievement of Vision 2030, which seeks to reach a prosperous economy that benefits Saudi citizens and create a thriving society.”

Ibrahim Bardisi, MCCI secretary-general, thanked the Saudi leadership for their directives. “Whoever misses the IPO train has missed a lot of good that he deserves more than others, especially as the company is determined to continue to provide value to its customers, partners and major shareholder, including the Saudi government and the new shareholders,” he said.

“The benefits of listing on the Saudi market will create added value in this market and attract foreign money to invest in a company the size of Aramco, which is worth $2 trillion, manages oil reserves estimated at more than 265 billion barrels (15 percent of the world’s reserves) and gas reserves of 288 trillion cubic feet, and employs about 65,000 employees.”