More than half of Aramco stock sales attributed to foreign investors

By Maha El Dahan

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has sold more than half of an $11.2 billion stake in Aramco to foreign investors, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to attract international investment to invest tens of billions of dollars in projects aimed at diversifying away from its dependence on oil. Yet foreign investment has repeatedly missed its targets.

“There have been several orders from the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan,” one of the sources said.

International demand for the secondary share sale was greater than for Aramco’s 2019 IPO, sources previously told Reuters.

Aramco said Friday that the shares were priced at 27.25 riyals ($7.27) after the company set a price range of 26.70 to 29.00 riyals.

The secondary offering, dubbed Project Bond by the banks involved, took months of planning.

As a result of the transaction, more than 120 new international investors will join Aramco, one of the sources said.

“Aggregate demand for this offering was over $65 billion across global blue-chip institutions and domestic retail offerings,” he said.

De facto ruler Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 funds projects as diverse as electric vehicles to build futuristic cities in the desert, primarily through his Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The $925 billion sovereign wealth fund, after scaling back some of its gigantic flagship projects, aims to focus more on pushing the vision forward.

Proceeds from the sale of the shares are expected to go to the PIF, sources and analysts said, although the funds could also help plug the kingdom’s budget deficit, which has widened as the price of oil rises. is weakened.

(Reporting by Maha El Dahan; editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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