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Saudi Aramco unveils plans to kick off blockbuster float next week  

Key details about the deal, including the offer price and amount of shares being offered, were not included in the prospectus.
Key details about the deal, including the offer price and amount of shares being offered, were not included in the prospectus.

Investors will start bidding for a slice of the world's most profitable company Saudi Aramco from next Sunday in what could be the biggest ever stock market listing.

The once secretive oil behemoth said in its 658-page IPO prospectus published late Saturday night that it will offer 0.5pc of its shares to ordinary investors during the float, roughly $10bn (£7.3bn) worth if it hits its ambitious $2 trillion valuation. The listing will begin on November 17. 

However key details about the deal, including the offer price and amount of shares being offered, were not included in the prospectus. It also did not include any commitments from early backers despite reports that Saudi's wealthiest families have been urged to buy into the float. 

The state-owned company said it would announce the offer price on December 5. The hefty document gave potential investors a glimpse inside the firm's latest financial results, showing that profits have slipped 18pc for the first nine months of the year to $68.2bn. 

The highly-anticipated prospectus was published days after the oil market kingpin announced that it would go public on the Riyadh bourse next month after several false starts.    

Bankers' valuations for Aramco, which produces about a tenth of the world's oil, have ranged from $1.2trn to $2.3trn although analysts have said the lower end is more realistic. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is said to be willing to accept a valuation of $1.7trn. 

However investors remain concerned about potential political risks, a fear highlighted by September's drone attacks on some of Aramco's facilities, as well as how open the group will be about its oil reserves and governance. 

This was laid bare on Friday when the head of Japan's largest refiner JXTG said Japanese companies were unlikely to invest because of transparency concerns.   

The kingdom's human rights record has also been under the spotlight following the murder of activist Jamal Khashoggi last year. One potential investor, who asked not to be named, told The Telegraph last week "not many people want to own shares in Saudi, for moral reasons".   

However Aramco's plan to float, first suggested in 2016, initially triggered a global charm offensive from Western executives and governments all eager to get a slice of the world's biggest listing in history. 

Britain relaxed its IPO rules, a move that angered City fund managers, while US president Donald Trump tweeted that he would "very much appreciate" if the oil giant floated on the New York Stock Exchange. Those efforts were thwarted last week when Aramco said its plans for an international listing were on hold.  

Aramco made profits of $111bn (£87bn) last year, more than Google and Apple combined. The scale of its low-cost oil reserves – the largest in the world – is also enough to eclipse the profits of rivals ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and BP combined.   

The listing is part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's efforts to raise money for the kingdom and open it up to foreign investment.