Calling all women and children: Aramco widens net in bid to secure valuation
Saudi Aramco’s intention to list aims to clear up any doubts wealth managers may have about investing on behalf of women, but it also draws attention to the fact that, despite reforms, the full inclusion of women in Saudi society is still a distant reality.
Mothers, widows and female divorcees may not be the most common subset of investors in an international IPO but Saudi Aramco’s pre-offering document is appealing to this particular demographic in a bid to secure its valuation target.
On November 3, Aramco revealed its intention to list on the Saudi stock exchange, or Tadawul, starting the formal investor education process for the listing ‒ which analysts estimate could be anywhere from just above $1 trillion to $2 trillion. It is targeting both domestic and international investors.
The sale of the world’s largest oil company is at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s national transformation plan ‒ a successful deal will mark not only a major step in the opening up of Saudi’s economy but a vote of confidence in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030. But women are at the heart of the reform plan too.
A central pillar of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia aimed to increase the economic participation rate of women in the country from 17% to 25% by 2020. Progress has been made – women can now drive, divorce men and travel alone – but they still remain restricted in Saudi society.