Aramco open to selling more shares as market improves: Chairman

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
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Yasir Al Rumayyan Image
Yasir Al Rumayyan, the chairman of Aramco, speaking at an earlier event

According to the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s petroleum and natural gas company Aramco, the country will consider selling more shares in its state-run firm once market conditions improve.

“Once we see more appetite from different investment institutions and investors, we will definitely consider selling more shares,” Yasir Al Rumayyan said at the annual energy industry event CeraWeek, which is being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not for the Aramco board to decide on, it is the government of Saudi Arabia who will decide,” said Mr. Rumayyan who also serves as governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of the country.

In January, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom’s state oil firm may have a second listing which will help increase the assets of the PIF to $1.1 trillion. Aramco listed its shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange, Tadawul, the world’s biggest IPO in 2019, raising $25.6 billion and later selling more shares boosting the total to $29.4 billion.

Mr Al Rumayyan, who became chairman of Aramco ahead of its IPO has been leading the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund since 2015.

PIF in Saudi Arabia’s initiatives

The PIF is an integral part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative, which seeks to diversify the economy, nurture local industries, create jobs and reduce the reliance on oil revenue. The fund is an investor in ride-hailing company Uber and has made technology investments through SoftBank Vision Fund of Japan’s Masayoshi Son.

In January, the fund launched a five-year strategy, with the aim of doubling its assets to $1.07 trillion and plans to invest a minimum of $40 billion a year into the domestic economy until 2025 and create 1.8 million jobs. It will contribute $320 billion to the kingdom’s non-oil economy. The fund aims to grow assets under management to over $2 trillion by 2030.

“Prior to 2015, we had less than 2 percent of our investments going internationally. However, from 2015 until 2020, we increased our international allocation to about 30 percent,” Mr Al Rumayyan said.

The PIF is looking to increase its investments at home and is lowering its international allocation to “a range between 21 to 25 percent”, he added. “We are committed to invest a minimum of $40 billion on an annual basis in the domestic economy,” he told CeraWeek.

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