General view of Aramco tanks and oil pipe at Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said in televised remarks on Tuesday that the kingdom was in discussions to sell 1% of state oil firm Saudi Aramco <2222.SE> to a leading global energy company.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company which listed on the Saudi bourse in late 2019, could sell further shares including to international investors within the next year or two.
“There are talks now for the acquisition of a 1% stake by a leading global energy company in an important deal that would boost Aramco’s sales in … a major country,” he said, without elaborating.
“There are talks with other companies for different stakes, and part of Aramco’s shares could be transferred to the (Saudi) Public Investment Fund and a part listed … on the Saudi bourse,” he said in an interview aired by Saudi TV marking the fifth anniversary of Vision 2030.
The Aramco initial public offering in 2019 was seen as a pillar of the economic diversification programme aimed at attracting foreign investment.
Aramco raised $25.6 billion in the IPO and later sold more shares under a “greenshoe option” to raise the total to $29.4 billion.
The crown prince in 2016 announced a plan to raise as much as $100 billion via an international and domestic listing of a 5% stake in Aramco. In 2017 sources said Chinese state-owned companies PetroChina and Sinopec had written to Aramco to express an interest in a direct deal.
Listing plans were halted in 2018 and when they were revived the following year the deal found little interest beyond the Gulf. Riyadh scaled back its ambitions and canceled roadshows in New York and London, selling a 1.7% stake and relying on mainly domestic and regional buyers.
The proceeds of that offer were transferred to the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Prince Mohammed’s vehicle of choice to transform the Saudi economy and diversify away from oil revenue.
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