Saudi Arabia oil giant faces investor doubts


Thomas Hugger, founder and CEO of fund manager Asia Frontier Capital, added: “We are not really bullish on the oil price due to the strong push by China to reduce the air pollution. However, each investment has its price and if the valuation is very attractive (which I doubt) it could be worth an investment.”

One route that may enable Saudi Aramco to pull in buyers for its shares could be inclusion into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, but would investors buy Aramco on a stand-alone basis?

“Maybe not,” said Michael Preiss, a Singapore-based portfolio strategist at Taurus Family Office with $1.9 billion of assets under advisory. “It may be part of the (MSCI EM) Index, so you’ll be forced to buy it.”

And in a world that’s shifting away from fossil fuels, Aramco is “a bit backward looking,” Preiss said. “It’s more of a sunset industry. The Saudis are realizing it’s the end of the cycle.”

Still, Aramco has its supporters.

“We need to see how they manage the governance but there’s no doubt that everybody around the world is going to be interested in looking at Aramco,” said Robert Thummel, managing director and portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital Advisors, which handles $16 billion in energy-related assets.

He pointed to its “massive reserves and the low-cost nature of production.”

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