Saudi Arabia remains the fulcrum and the backbone of the Gulf and the region, and perhaps the world, and I have always said that there is no Arab house that isn’t directly or indirectly affected by the Saudi economic movement; and this has a knock-on effect on many homes in Pakistan, India, the Philippines and Bangladesh, even in Britain and the US itself.
Praise be to God who blessed Saudi Arabia with a wise leadership since King Abdulaziz, who managed to unite those vast lands under one banner, and then his sons completed the march after him, as they maintained high rates of development, which positively reflected on the Saudi citizen and the people in the rest of the region.
Today we have a young leader with an insightful economic vision, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has put forward an ambitious programme to transfer the kingdom to very advanced levels of sophistication, build a modern economy, comparable to those of developed countries, activate the great potential inherent in the Saudis, men and women, and actively involve them in the renaissance their home.
Here we see some of the fruits of that in the unprecedented success of the Aramco stock offering in the Saudi financial market. This offering – considered the largest of its kind in history – required great boldness that only brave leaders can offer.
The offering has succeeded beyond all financial criteria, and the kingdom has achieved its stated goals as a result and collected 96 billion riyals in the largest underwriting known in history for a company whose market value exceeded the value of any of the companies listed on all exchanges of the world and traded today!
It is expected that the Saudi government will invest, through this public investment, funds to diversify the economy and develop non-oil sectors. This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the growth of the non-oil economy and increase the number of projects and improve employment rates.
Despite all of this, still famous western media such as the Financial Times continue to launch their attacks on the Aramco bid. For a start, those media questioned the ability of the Saudi government to collect billions through the offering, and when the proposal succeeded unequivocally, they used unfair means to reduce the importance and impact of that success. Some of them even implied that it would be negative for the Saudi economy!
The economy cannot be separated from politics, but on the other hand, politics should not be forced onto the economy in order to negatively affect it. Additionally.
Whatever your views on Saudi Arabia, I must propose one undeniable fact, and that is that Saudi Arabia, which God Almighty has blessed with tremendous oil wealth, has managed, throughout its history to both maintain security and stability and achieve high economic growth and development rates. There are other countries in the world that have oil wealth, almost equal to what Saudi Arabia has, but their mob-minded leaders have chosen stupid ways to govern, sold their citizens’ dreams and plunged their countries into poverty and endless turmoil.
Aramco is a unique company in the world; it has real tangible assets from oilfields, equipment, tankers, etc., and a huge volume of flows. It uses the latest technologies in the fields of exploration, drilling, extraction and transport, and has contributed to the establishment of modern cities, and the development of integrated societies, so it cannot be compared to any other company in the world.
It is significant to note the importance of the Saudi financial market’s absorption of “Tadawul” to offer the Aramco IPO without this causing an imbalance in the rest of its shares, nor have we witnessed an imbalance in the other Gulf financial markets. This means that the offering was done calmly and smoothly, as if it had already been in a global financial market. This is reflected positively on all emerging markets in the region, and also enhances market confidence in the ability of Tadawul to absorb the expected international offering of Aramco. The company’s market value now exceeds five largest oil companies in the world combined – Exxon Mobil, Total, Dutch Shell, Chevron and British Petroleum.
The inclusion of Aramco on the Saudi Stock Exchange represented the best investment opportunity in the last 30 years. It is now certain that foreign investors and international financial markets should give up their aversion towards investing in Aramco. It is better for those that lie in wait to attack Aramco and Saudi Arabia to know that when they attack Aramco, they are shooting themselves in the foot, and Aramco is no longer just “Saudi Aramco” as much as it is “Aramco Global” in the full sense of the word.