© Reuters. Participants attend the official ceremony marking the debut of Saudi Aramco’s IPO on the Riyadh’s stock market, in Riyadh

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Aramco (SE:) shares were up 1% at 37.2 riyals ($9.89) in early trade on Sunday.

The state-owned oil company listed 1.5% of its shares at 32 riyals on Riyadh’s Tadawul exchange () on Dec 11 in the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO).

Initially valued at $1.7 trillion, the shares have since hit $2 trillion, a value long sought by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The IPO is the centerpiece of the Saudi leader’s plans for diversifying the economy away from its dependence on oil.

Some 406 million Aramco shares had traded as of 0841 GMT on Sunday, Refinitiv data showed.

Additional demand, particularly from “passive” investors, is expected this week, as Aramco’s shares will join the Tadawul index and global benchmarks such as MSCI.

Aramco is the world’s largest and most profitable company, but its valuation faced scepticism among international investors as the IPO was marketed.

Analysts at Bernstein last week put its value at $1.36 trillion, citing corporate governance concerns due to the fact that the government owns 98.5% of the firm.

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2019-12-15