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Saudi Arabia may announce landmark Aramco share offering

Saudi Arabia may announce a landmark secondary share offering in oil giant Aramco later on Thursday, pending final approval, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Final approval would come from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The share offering is expected to be launched on Sunday, the sources said.

The offering is the culmination of a years-long effort to sell another chunk in one of the world’s most valuable companies after its record-setting IPO in 2019 that raised $29.4 billion.

Sources said last week the offering could happen as soon as June, with one adding it could raise around $10 billion.

Since then, Aramco has continued to be a cash cow for the Saudi government as it finances a mammoth economic drive to end its “oil addiction”, as the crown prince once called it.

The company bolstered dividends to almost $98 billion in 2023 from the $75 billion it had been paying annually, despite profit having dropped by nearly a quarter. It expects an outlay of $124.3 billion this year.

Aramco has also invested in refineries and petrochemical projects in China and elsewhere, expanded its retail and trading businesses, and sharpened its focus on gas, making its first foray into liquefied natural gas abroad last year.

(Reuters)

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