The Trillion Dollar Company

PetroChina is the first firm to be worth $1 trillion.

Shares in the publicly quoted arm of China National Petroleum Corp. nearly tripled on their first day of trading in Shanghai. They already traded on the Hong Kong and New York exchanges. PetroChina’s initial public offering in Shanghai raised $8.9 billion dollars — a record for a Chinese domestic float, and the shares popped from the issue price of 16.70 yuan ($2.24) to 43.96 yuan ($5.90). CNPC holds 85% of the shares, so the pool of tradable shares is relatively small.

American investor Warren Buffett had been an investor in PetroChina but sold off his 2.3 billion share stake at a profit of $3.5 billion.

The Shanghai market is so frothy and the dollar so weak that the $1 trillion figure is a bit of an artifact, but it makes PetroChina twice the size of Exxon Mobil in terms of market cap, and bigger than the entire Russian stock market.

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