Orders for Saudi Aramco‘s debut international bond topped $100bn on Tuesday, a record-breaking vote of market confidence for the oil giant which has faced investor concerns about government influence over the company.
State-owned Aramco is expected to raise more than $10bn from the deal, which will be priced later on Tuesday and is seen as a gauge of potential investor interest in the Saudi company’s eventual initial public offering (IPO).
Before the six-part bond deal was marketed on Monday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said initial indications of interest for the paper were over $30bn.
The demand appeared to be the largest ever for emerging markets bonds, fund managers said, surpassing order book value of more than $52bn for Qatar’s $12bn deal last year, $67bn for Saudi Arabia’s inaugural issue in 2016 and $69bn orders for Argentina’s $16.5bn trade that year.
“Purely on figures, it is a fantastic credit,” said Damien Buchet, CIO of the EM Total Return Strategy, Finisterre Capital.
But he added: “The thing is, they are part of Saudi Arabia, they are a government arm. For equity investors, this is always going to be an issue, more so than for bond investors.”