Aramco Unit Hires HSBC, Citigroup for Riyadh Share Sale


Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co., a unit of the state-owned oil producer, has named Citigroup and HSBC Holdings Plc for its initial public offering on the Saudi stock exchange.

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(Bloomberg) — Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co., a unit of the state-owned oil producer, has named Citigroup and HSBC Holdings Plc for its initial public offering on the Saudi stock exchange. 

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The company, also known as Luberef, is planning to sell 50 million shares, or a nearly 30% stake, according to a statement. The price at which all subscribers in the offering will purchase the shares will be determined after the book-building period.

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The company hired SNB Capital as lead manager, financial adviser, book-runner, global coordinator and underwriter. It also named Citigroup Saudi Arabia, HSBC Saudi Arabia, and Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia as financial advisers, book-runners, global coordinators and underwriters

Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority approved Luberef’s IPO plan last week. 

The refinery business, with operations in Saudi industrial cities Jeddah and Yanbu, is 70% owned by Saudi Aramco, while the rest is held by local private equity firm Jadwa Investment. The offering consists of Jadwa’s sale of its shares in Luberef, while Saudi Aramco is keeping it’s stake. The offering could raise about $1 billion, Bloomberg reported in June.

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The energy-rich Persian Gulf has been one of the world’s IPO hotspots this year, accounting for almost half the proceeds from new share listings across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. While share sales elsewhere have dried up amid aggressive interest rate rises, Middle Eastern markers have benefited from high oil prices, and Saudi Arabia alone has seen a record 27 IPOs this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jadwa had acquired its Luberef holding in 2007 from Exxon Mobil Corp. Exxon had originally invested in the refinery in 1978.

Luberef operates two production facilities in Yanbu and Jeddah on Saudi Arabia’s west coast. It produces various base oils and byproducts including asphalt, marine heavy fuel oil and naphtha. They are mainly sold across the Middle East, North Africa and India. It also sells across Asia, the Americas and Europe.

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Demand Outlook

Demand for base oils globally is expected to grow by about 5 million metric tons between 2022 and 2030, according to a company statement. “The demand outlook for base oils is further supported by strong macro fundamentals in Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East region, which are key end-markets for Luberef.”

“Luberef will continue focusing on achieving growth in key end-markets, especially where market dynamics present attractive demand outlooks,” Tareq Alnuaim, president and chief executive officer of Luberef, said the statement.

—With assistance from Dana Khraiche.

(Updates with company statement from eighth paragraph.)

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