Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil exporter, has surpassed US-based technology giant Apple to become the world’s most valued company with a market capitalisation of almost $2.43 trillion.
Aramco, which is listed on the Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul, closed almost 1% lower on Wednesday at 45.5 Saudi riyals (US$12.13) a share, with a market capitalisation of 9.1 trillion riyals (US$2.43 trillion), while Apple’s share price dropped more than 5% to $146.5 a share, with its market value dipping to $2.37 trillion.
The iPhone manufacturer’s market value has dipped this year, despite Apple improving profitability during the first quarter.
However, the US technology giant has warned that China’s Covid-19 lockdown and supply chain issues could impact its second-quarter 2022 results.
Aramco's share price has risen by almost 30% since the start of this year, while Apple’s stock price has gone down by more than 15%.
The Saudi Arabian giant within days is set to unveil its first-quarter results, with sustained high oil prices expected to further boost its earnings to record levels.
The Saudi Arabian state-controlled giant in March pledged to ramp up capital expenditure to between $40 billion and $50 billion in 2022 on the back of last year's $110 billion net profit - itself double that of 2020.
The energy giant is expected to increase its spending incrementally until the middle of this decade.
Aramco’s average hydrocarbon production last year was 12.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, including 9.2 million barrels per day of oil.
The company plans to raise its crude output capacity to a “maximum sustainable” level of 13 million bpd by 2027 and is spending billions of dollars to swiftly achieve this goal.
Aramco’s 2021 $110 billion net profit — up from $49 billion the previous year — came as oil prices surged against the backdrop of rebounding demand after the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With an increase in production and commodity prices, most analysts expect the company’s net profit will be even higher in 2022.
The company three years ago held its initial public offering, raising $29.4 billion and the kingdom's de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans to sell more Aramco shares. In February, Saudi Arabia transferred 4% of the company's shares worth $80 billion to the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
Aramco’s free cash flow was $107.5 billion last year, compared with $49.1 billion in 2020.
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