Saudi Aramco stuns with $100 billion demand for debut global bond

  • Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, has received huge demand for its debut global bond with $US100 billion in orders.
  • Aramco announced plans for its debut global bond last week after showing results which made it the most profitable company in the world.
  • The massive demand is one of the largest ever debuts for an emerging markets issuer, with Aramco looking to bring in $US12 billion from the deal.

Saudi Aramco’s debut bond sale could be one of the largest ever in emerging markets after drawing in $US100 billion in orders.

It’s part of a transparency push on behalf of Saudi Arabia as part of a will-they-won’t-they over the company’s plans for an initial public offering, which it shelved last year.

The bond issuance reflects the company’s reluctance to go public after being shunned by investors at a Saudi event dubbed “Davos in the desert” last year, following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The deal, run by major Wall Street firms including JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs alongside HSBC and NCB, also shows that financial institutions haven’t cooled on the kingdom.

Investors are keen for yield in the current trading environment, making the $US12 billion issue a magnet for big financial institutions.

It’s further evidence of the appeal of Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves to investors after the country brought in $US7.5 billion in sovereign bonds earlier this year despite overwhelmingly negative reactions to the government after Khashoggi’s death.

Saudi Aramco reported $US111.1 billion in net income last year,according to Moody’s, making it more profitable than Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet combined. The company filed for its international bond debut on Monday, a $US10 billion issuance following a doubling of its profits after oil prices rose last year.

It’s the first major opportunity for investors to scrutinize the offering of one of the world’s largest energy companies given the usually secretive nature of Aramco’s disclosures. Saudi Aramco accounted for approximately one in eight barrels of crude oil produced globally from 2016 to 2018, according to the prospectus.

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