Oil on troubled waters: Power, not profit, drives Saudi Aramco’s ...

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Oil on troubled waters: Power, not profit, drives Saudi Aramco’s listing

When his state wasn’t bombing Yemenis or murdering journalists, Bin Salman realised he needed to diversify the economy

Juliet Samuel

It’s on. The biggest listing in history kicked off on Sunday, when Saudi Arabia’s national oil company published its “intention to float”.

Riyadh is reportedly targeting a Bond villain-style valuation of up to $2-trillion, though it might have to settle for something closer to $1-trillion if investors decide to play it cool.

That, as you will have noticed, is a gargantuan price range. Saudi Aramco is without doubt the world’s most profitable oil company, making profits, or ebitda, of $224bn (R3.2bn) in 2018 thanks to both the size and ease of extracting its reserves. Given its enormous, natural advantages, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has always promoted the idea that it should attract a premium valuation...

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