chapter  6
10 Pages

1 The Saudi Aramco Privatization

In 2016, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia stunned the world of energy and finance by announcing that Saudi Aramco would be privatized and that 5% of its shares would be floated in a public offering open to investors worldwide. The mega-oil company has not only financed the Kingdom’s budget for decades, but, aided by Aramco’s opaque financial practices, has also, either directly or indirectly, supported much of the royal family’s expenditures.1 Much has been said and written about the privatization of Aramco, and by all accounts, the privatization has the potential to be historic. Listing shares locally would provide a liquidity boost to domestic capital markets, listing shares globally would open the Kingdom to foreign investment to an unparalleled degree, and share revenue would feed into Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, which seeks to replace oil as the main source of government revenue.