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沙特阿美估值几何?1.6万亿美元似乎过高

Adrian Croft 2019年12月08日

一项对国际性资产管理公司的调查显示,沙特政府发行的沙特阿美股份被高估了三分之一。

与会者走过沙特阿美设在阿卜杜勒阿齐兹国王世界文化中心里的广告牌。图片来源:Photograph by Simon Dawson—Bloomberg via Getty Images 

沙特阿美的历史性首发仍然是疑云笼罩。

一项对国际性资产管理公司的调查显示,沙特政府发行的沙特阿美股份被高估了三分之一。这些资管公司共持有3.8万亿美元资产。同样让人担心的是,其中只有13%的受访者愿意在当前价格区间内购买这家全球最大石油公司的股票。

证券公司伯恩斯坦(Bernstein)在12月2日发布并向《财富》杂志披露了此项调查的结果。进一步证明高估值是许多国际投资者对这次IPO不感冒的主要原因。对于这家世界上盈利水平最高的公司,沙特和海湾地区的潜在投资者仍然相当感兴趣,沙特阿美的上市进程看来依然顺利,有望在本月晚些时候创下IPO世界纪录。

伯恩斯坦通过机构投资者交流平台Procensus调查了北美、欧洲和亚洲的31家资产管理公司,受访者认为沙特阿美的估值应该低于西方主要石油公司,他们对沙特阿美的平均估值为1.26万亿美元,远低于这家能源巨头为本月IPO设定的1.6万亿美元至1.7万亿美元的定价区间。

沙特阿美将在12月5日确定IPO价格。受访者测算,如果达到上述区间的高点,那就意味着投资者将多付约35%的资金。

大多数受访者都愿意按照1.26万亿美元的估值投资沙特阿美,而接受1.6万亿美元的估值,也就是沙特阿美询价区间低点以上估值的受访者不到七分之一(仅有13%)。

伯恩斯坦未参与本次IPO发行,该公司表示:“虽然投资者都认为沙特阿美的财务和业务实力突出,但公司治理较弱以及利润增长空间有限是其估值低于同类企业的原因。”

伯恩斯坦还指出,对大多数国际投资者来说,本次调查印证了沙特阿美的估值“高于市场可以为之找到合理依据”的水平。

该公司表示:“虽然这并不意味着本次IPO将失败,但它确实表明股价的增长高度依赖石油价格。确实,这次IPO没有怎么筹到外部资金,再加上让这次私有化给沙特国内股东带来成功的压力,沙特就更有理由希望油价上涨了。”

“错失机会”

伯恩斯坦的结论是沙特阿美“失去了一次机会,原因就是没能将其IPO价格定在对国际投资者有吸引力的水平上。”

该公司还认为:“这可能会让沙特阿美的股价走势和其他大型石油股背离,而且有可能让未来的后续发行变得更吸引人。”

《财富》杂志联系了沙特阿美,但后者未立即就置评请求作出回应。

作为沙特经济王冠上的明珠,沙特阿美的部分私有化是王储默罕默德·本·萨勒曼的“愿景2030”计划的核心。此项庞大的规划旨在让沙特经济实现现代化,减少其对石油的依赖并为外国投资打通路径。

但沙特政府为其宝贵资产标注的价值和西方投资者愿意支付的价格之间一直存在差距。

近几个月的情况表明,王储最初定下的2万亿美元价格显然过高,因此沙特政府放弃了在海湾地区以外推介沙特阿美的行动。随后,沙特政府将沙特阿美的估值下调到1.6万亿美元至1.7万亿美元。

沙特方面还决定将沙特阿美的自由流通股占比从此前预期的5%降到仅1.5%,同时让沙特阿美在沙特证交所上市,放弃了向全世界发行股票的计划,至少目前是这样。

寄希望于沙特和海湾地区投资者

在沙特集中进行推介让沙特阿美的股票受到了沙特以及整个海湾地区投资者的热捧。本次IPO主簿记管理人Samba Capital在11月29日称,机构和个人投资者截至目前的申购资金已经超过440亿美元,是发行规模的1.7倍。新闻报道则显示,机构认购资金中仅有约10%来自非沙特投资者。

这表明本次IPO看来一定会创下新的记录,超过2014年阿里巴巴250亿美元的上市规模。

沙特阿美占全球石油产量的八分之一,其石油储量至少可供开采52年,因此它的价值和油价紧密相连,而过去五年石油价格一直表现低迷。

两周前,《华尔街日报》引述波斯湾官员的话说,沙特将在本周的产油国峰会上促使减产措施延长到2020年中期,以便推动油价上升,进而提高沙特阿美的IPO价格。

伯恩斯坦的调查显示资产管理公司更喜欢用股息收益率为沙特阿美的股票估值。该公司已经承诺今后五年将至少分红750亿美元。

伯恩斯坦称,基于沙特政府给出的1.6万亿美元至1.7万亿美元估值,沙特阿美的初始股息收益率为4.5%,远低于国际上大多数主要石油公司。

但本次调查中的资管公司则认为沙特阿美的股息收益率应该超过西方大型石油企业。

按资管公司给出的1.26万亿美元的估值和60美元/桶的油价计算,沙特阿美的股息收益率则为6%,而跨国石油公司为5.6%。

伯恩斯坦指出,鉴于沙特阿美目前上市的10年期债券的收益率高于西方大型石油公司的债券,沙特阿美估值较低看来符合逻辑。

本次调查中,受访者给沙特阿美的财务实力和竞争优势打了90%的分数,利润质量和科技创新的平均打分分别为70%和63%。

但伯恩斯坦称,增长前景和公司治理的打分较低,分别为46%和35%,这可能是沙特阿美估值低于同类企业的主要原因。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Doubts continue to cloud the historic Saudi Aramco initial public offering.

A survey of international asset managers—combined, they hold $3.8 trillion of assets under management—found that the shares in Saudi Aramco being sold by the Saudi government are over-valued by up to one-third. Just as troubling is that just 13% of those same asset managers would buy shares at the current price range set by the world’s biggest oil producer.

The survey was released on December 2 and shared with Fortune by brokerage Bernstein. It amounts to further evidence that the high IPO valuation is the main reason why the offer has fallen flat with many international investors. There’s still plenty of interest in the world’s most profitable company from prospective investors in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf; the listing still appears on track for a world record initial public offering later this month.

Bernstein’s survey of 31 asset managers in North America, Europe and Asia, conducted with Procensus, an opinion-sharing platform for institutional investors, found that Aramco should trade at a discount to Western oil majors. They pin an average valuation of $1.26 trillion on the energy giant. That’s a far cry from the $1.6 trillion to $1.7 trillion price range set by Aramco for this month’s IPO.

Should the shares achieve the high end of the range—the final price will be set on Dec. 5—that would mean that investors would be over-paying by around 35%, poll participants calculate.

While most participants in the poll would invest in Aramco at a valuation of $1.26 trillion, less than one in seven (just 13%) of them would invest in Aramco at a valuation above $1.6 trillion, which is the lower end of the price at which the shares are being offered.

“While investors agree that Aramco has superior financial and franchise strength, weak corporate governance and limited earnings growth are reasons for the discount relative to peers,” said Bernstein, which is not involved in advising on the IPO.

Bernstein said that, for most institutional investors, the survey results confirmed the view that Aramco was being valued at a level “above what can be reasonably justified by the market.”

“While this does not mean the IPO will be a failure, it does mean that share gains will be highly dependent on oil price. Indeed, the lack of external funds raised by the IPO, plus the pressure to make the privatization a success for domestic Saudi shareholders, are yet more reasons that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will want higher oil prices,” it said.

“Missed opportunity”

Bernstein concluded that Saudi Aramco had “missed an opportunity by not pricing the IPO at a level which would be attractive to institutional investors.”

“This could have allowed the stock to perform against other oil majors and would have made a follow-on offering in the future more attractive,” it continued.

Contacted by Fortune, Saudi Aramco did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The part-privatization of Aramco, the “crown jewel” of the Saudi economy, is the centerpiece of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” programme, a grand plan to modernize the Saudi economy, reduce its reliance on oil and open the way for foreign investment.

But there has always been tension between the valuation the Saudi government placed on their prized asset and what Western investors were willing to pay.

In recent months it became clear that the $2 trillion price tag initially floated by the crown prince was too ambitious, and so the Saudi government abandoned efforts to market the world’s biggest oil producer outside the Gulf region. It then lowered its sights to $1.6 to $1.7 trillion.

It also decided to scale back the offering from an anticipated 5% free float of Aramco shares to just 1.5%, and to sell the shares on the Saudi stock exchange, shelving plans for an international offer—at least for now.

Courting Saudi, Gulf investors

An intensive marketing campaign in Saudi Arabia has driven strong demand for the shares among Saudis and in the wider Gulf region. Institutional and individual investors have so far bid more than $44 billion, applying for 1.7 times the number of Aramco shares on offer, lead manager Samba Capital said on November 29. Only around 10% of the money bid by institutions so far has come from non-Saudi investors, according to news reports.

That means the IPO looks certain to set a new record, beating Alibaba’s $25 billion flotation in 2014.

Saudi Aramco pumps one in every eight barrels of oil produced globally and is sitting on at least 52 years of oil reserves, so its value is closely tied to the oil price, which has languished for five years.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting Persian Gulf officials, reported Sunday that Saudi Arabia will push for an extension of oil production cuts through mid-2020 at a producers’ summit this week in an effort to prop up oil prices, and, in turn, Saudi Aramco’s IPO share price.

The Bernstein poll found that the asset managers’ preferred approach to valuing Aramco’s shares was dividend yield. Saudi Aramco has pledged to pay a dividend of at least $75 billion a year for the next five years.

Based on the valuation the Saudi government is seeking of $1.6-$1.7 trillion, Aramco will trade on an initial yield of 4.5% which is significantly lower than most global oil majors, Bernstein said.

The asset managers surveyed however believe the company should pay a higher yield than Western oil majors.

Assuming the asset managers’ valuation of $1.26 trillion and a $60 per barrel oil price, Aramco would yield 6% compared to the 5.6% return yielded by international oil companies.

Given that Aramco’s 10-year bonds currently trade at a higher yield to bonds issued by Western oil majors, a valuation discount seems logical, Bernstein said.

Participants in the poll gave Aramco a score of 90% for financial strength and competitive advantages. Earnings quality and technological innovation received average scores of 70% and 63% respectively.

But growth prospects and corporate governance received low scores of 46% and 35% respectively which are likely the key reasons for the valuation discount to peers, Bernstein said.

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