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沙特阿美估值幾何?1.6萬億美元似乎過高

Adrian Croft 2019年12月08日

一項對國際性資產管理公司的調查顯示,沙特政府發行的沙特阿美股份被高估了三分之一。

與會者走過沙特阿美設在阿卜杜勒阿齊茲國王世界文化中心里的廣告牌。圖片來源:Photograph by Simon Dawson—Bloomberg via Getty Images?

沙特阿美的歷史性首發仍然是疑云籠罩。

一項對國際性資產管理公司的調查顯示,沙特政府發行的沙特阿美股份被高估了三分之一。這些資管公司共持有3.8萬億美元資產。同樣讓人擔心的是,其中只有13%的受訪者愿意在當前價格區間內購買這家全球最大石油公司的股票。

證券公司伯恩斯坦(Bernstein)在12月2日發布并向《財富》雜志披露了此項調查的結果。進一步證明高估值是許多國際投資者對這次IPO不感冒的主要原因。對于這家世界上盈利水平最高的公司,沙特和海灣地區的潛在投資者仍然相當感興趣,沙特阿美的上市進程看來依然順利,有望在本月晚些時候創下IPO世界紀錄。

伯恩斯坦通過機構投資者交流平臺Procensus調查了北美、歐洲和亞洲的31家資產管理公司,受訪者認為沙特阿美的估值應該低于西方主要石油公司,他們對沙特阿美的平均估值為1.26萬億美元,遠低于這家能源巨頭為本月IPO設定的1.6萬億美元至1.7萬億美元的定價區間。

沙特阿美將在12月5日確定IPO價格。受訪者測算,如果達到上述區間的高點,那就意味著投資者將多付約35%的資金。

大多數受訪者都愿意按照1.26萬億美元的估值投資沙特阿美,而接受1.6萬億美元的估值,也就是沙特阿美詢價區間低點以上估值的受訪者不到七分之一(僅有13%)。

伯恩斯坦未參與本次IPO發行,該公司表示:“雖然投資者都認為沙特阿美的財務和業務實力突出,但公司治理較弱以及利潤增長空間有限是其估值低于同類企業的原因。”

伯恩斯坦還指出,對大多數國際投資者來說,本次調查印證了沙特阿美的估值“高于市場可以為之找到合理依據”的水平。

該公司表示:“雖然這并不意味著本次IPO將失敗,但它確實表明股價的增長高度依賴石油價格。確實,這次IPO沒有怎么籌到外部資金,再加上讓這次私有化給沙特國內股東帶來成功的壓力,沙特就更有理由希望油價上漲了。”

“錯失機會”

伯恩斯坦的結論是沙特阿美“失去了一次機會,原因就是沒能將其IPO價格定在對國際投資者有吸引力的水平上。”

該公司還認為:“這可能會讓沙特阿美的股價走勢和其他大型石油股背離,而且有可能讓未來的后續發行變得更吸引人。”

《財富》雜志聯系了沙特阿美,但后者未立即就置評請求作出回應。

作為沙特經濟王冠上的明珠,沙特阿美的部分私有化是王儲默罕默德·本·薩勒曼的“愿景2030”計劃的核心。此項龐大的規劃旨在讓沙特經濟實現現代化,減少其對石油的依賴并為外國投資打通路徑。

但沙特政府為其寶貴資產標注的價值和西方投資者愿意支付的價格之間一直存在差距。

近幾個月的情況表明,王儲最初定下的2萬億美元價格顯然過高,因此沙特政府放棄了在海灣地區以外推介沙特阿美的行動。隨后,沙特政府將沙特阿美的估值下調到1.6萬億美元至1.7萬億美元。

沙特方面還決定將沙特阿美的自由流通股占比從此前預期的5%降到僅1.5%,同時讓沙特阿美在沙特證交所上市,放棄了向全世界發行股票的計劃,至少目前是這樣。

寄希望于沙特和海灣地區投資者

在沙特集中進行推介讓沙特阿美的股票受到了沙特以及整個海灣地區投資者的熱捧。本次IPO主簿記管理人Samba Capital在11月29日稱,機構和個人投資者截至目前的申購資金已經超過440億美元,是發行規模的1.7倍。新聞報道則顯示,機構認購資金中僅有約10%來自非沙特投資者。

這表明本次IPO看來一定會創下新的記錄,超過2014年阿里巴巴250億美元的上市規模。

沙特阿美占全球石油產量的八分之一,其石油儲量至少可供開采52年,因此它的價值和油價緊密相連,而過去五年石油價格一直表現低迷。

兩周前,《華爾街日報》引述波斯灣官員的話說,沙特將在本周的產油國峰會上促使減產措施延長到2020年中期,以便推動油價上升,進而提高沙特阿美的IPO價格。

伯恩斯坦的調查顯示資產管理公司更喜歡用股息收益率為沙特阿美的股票估值。該公司已經承諾今后五年將至少分紅750億美元。

伯恩斯坦稱,基于沙特政府給出的1.6萬億美元至1.7萬億美元估值,沙特阿美的初始股息收益率為4.5%,遠低于國際上大多數主要石油公司。

但本次調查中的資管公司則認為沙特阿美的股息收益率應該超過西方大型石油企業。

按資管公司給出的1.26萬億美元的估值和60美元/桶的油價計算,沙特阿美的股息收益率則為6%,而跨國石油公司為5.6%。

伯恩斯坦指出,鑒于沙特阿美目前上市的10年期債券的收益率高于西方大型石油公司的債券,沙特阿美估值較低看來符合邏輯。

本次調查中,受訪者給沙特阿美的財務實力和競爭優勢打了90%的分數,利潤質量和科技創新的平均打分分別為70%和63%。

但伯恩斯坦稱,增長前景和公司治理的打分較低,分別為46%和35%,這可能是沙特阿美估值低于同類企業的主要原因。(財富中文網)

譯者:Charlie

審校: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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