Riyad December 8 2022: Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co., a refining unit of the state-owned oil producer, is likely to price its Riyadh initial public offering at the top of the range amid high demand, in the latest example of the Gulf’s listings boom.
Luberef, as the refiner is known, set price guidance at 99 riyals per share, the top of a previous range of 91 to 99 riyals, according to terms obtained by Bloomberg News. That sets it up to raise 4.95 billion riyals ($1.32 billion) for the private equity firm selling its stake.
Order books are “significantly oversubscribed” at that level, the terms showed. A final price announcement is due on Sunday, the company has previously said.
Saudi private equity firm Jadwa Investment is selling 50 million shares — a 30% stake — in Luberef, while Saudi Aramco is holding on to the remaining 70%.
Luberef is set to become the latest billion-dollar plus IPO in the Gulf, bucking a global slowdown in share sales with a deal late in the year when many investors typically shy away from taking on risk. The Middle East has emerged as a bright spot for listings in 2022 amid a gloomy global macroeconomic backdrop dominated by inflation fears and rising interest rates.
High oil prices have benefited Gulf economies, markets and companies’ balance sheets, helping drive a flurry of listings. IPOs have raised $19.2 billion so far this year, an amount that would be an annual record if it weren’t for 2019, when Aramco had its $29.4 billion IPO.
However, while demand for listings has held up, the after-market performance has not, with a number of deals either dropping below their offering prices or posting smaller-than-usual first-day gains. Regional equity indexes have dropped more than 25% from this year’s high as oil has declined on concerns about slower economic growth.
Luberef operates two production facilities on Saudi Arabia’s west coast, producing various base oils and byproducts including asphalt, marine heavy fuel oil and naphtha.
SNB Capital, Morgan Stanley, HSBC Holdings Plc and Citigroup Inc. are managing the IPO.