- Saudi officials are weighing a delay of Saudi Aramco’s IPO after drone attacks cut Saudi oil production, the Wall Street Journal reported.
- The officials are reportedly waiting for clarity on damage before moving forward.
- The attack could lower the valuation of the company even if the price of oil continues to rise. Aramco’s valuation had not accounted for the risks associated with such serious attacks, an official told the WSJ.
- Read more on Markets Insider.
Saudi officials are considering delaying the initial public offering of state-owned oil group Saudi Aramco after drone attacks slashed Saudi oil production, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Before proceeding with the IPO, officials are seeking clarity around the damage to Saudi Aramco, the WSJ found. The threat of more attacks going forward is a fresh risk that could ultimately weigh on the company’s revenue and profits. That could, in turn, make investors hesitant of putting money into Aramco.
The key metric to the company’s valuation is the price of oil. While the resource’s 20% spike following the attacks may seem like a positive for Aramco’s bottom line, there is considerable worry that mounting geopolitical risks will outweigh that impact.
“The most natural thing to happen is to see risk premiums rise which would lower the valuation,” an official told the WSJ. “In the current valuation, Aramco does not count for serious attacks like these.”
The adviser added that “the high risks will offset those hikes in the valuation” resulting from an oil-price increase.
Saudi officials want to value the company at $2 trillion, but other bankers and even Aramco executives say that the company should be valued lower, roughly $1.5 trillion, according to the WSJ. After the attack, officials and advisers say that Aramco may need to be discounted further, to the tune of $300 billion, it found.
Saudi Aramco was slated to go public either later this year or early 2020 in a two-part IPO that would allow it to sell part of the company on the local Saudi exchange and then list shares in international markets as well. The company hopes to raise $100 billion from the listing, which would make it the biggest IPO ever.
The attack comes just after a shake-up in leadership at Aramco. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the older brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was appointed energy minister September 7.
In addition, Yaser Rumayyan, who leads Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign- wealth fund, took the top job at Aramco. Both positions were formerly held by Khalid al Falih, who was relieved of them earlier this month.