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Aramco starts IPO pricing with valuation of as much as $1.706 trillion

Dubai — Saudi Aramco said Sunday it started pricing of its initial public offering in a range of 30 SAR to 32 SAR ($8 to $8.53) per share, indicating a company valuation of as much as $1.706 trillion.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had been seeking a valuation for the world's biggest oil and gas company of $2 trillion. Saudi Arabia's government currently owns all of Saudi Aramco's 200 billion shares outstanding.

The IPO will sell a 1.5% stake, Aramco said in an emailed statement. The listing will raise $25.6 billion for the kingdom, if it ends up with a final price of 32 SAR.

Individual investors will subscribe based on the 32 SAR price, and if the final price is below that, they can get a refund in cash or get additional shares, according to the statement. Bid forms by institutional subscribers need to be sent in by December 4, it said.

Individual investors must submit their forms by November 28 and the final offer price will be announced on December 5.

The IPO is the centerpiece of the crown prince's Vision 2030 to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil.

S&P Global Ratings said in a report on Thursday that the revenue raised by the IPO, most of which will go into the Saudi Public Investment Fund, could "help maintain growth potential through our three-year ratings horizon."

S&P Global Ratings forecasts Saudi Arabia's GDP to grow 1.6% on average per year from 2019 to 2022.

--Claudia Carpenter,

--Edited by Herman Wang,