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Saudi Aramco Set to Announce Secondary Share Sale

Saudi Arabia is expected to launch as soon as Sunday a secondary share sale in its oil giant Aramco, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting sources familiar with the plans.

The landmark new share offering needs final approval from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to Reuters’ sources.

Last week, reports started emerging that Saudi Aramco planned to sell more shares as soon as next month.

The news about a planned sale was exclusively reported last Friday by Reuters, which cited two unnamed sources as saying there were such intentions at Aramco. One of these sources said the deal could bag Aramco some $10 billion in proceeds.

“Decisions about share sales are matters for our shareholders and are not something we are able to comment on,” the company itself said in a response to the report.

Currently, Saudi Arabia owns just over 98% of Aramco after selling 1.7% in the initial public offering (IPO) in December 2019. Of the 98% held by the Kingdom, the Saudi government owns 90% of Aramco, while the sovereign wealth fund owns the other 8%. 

The Saudis initially aimed to list Aramco on the Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul, and on one major international market, with London, New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong all rumored or reported to have been in the race.

But in the end, tepid investor demand and the possibility of exposing the Kingdom to lawsuits—especially with a New York listing—forced the rulers to downsize the Aramco IPO.

Saudi Aramco made its debut on the Saudi Stock Exchange in December 2019 and raised around $30 billion in the share listing which became the largest in history.

Since the IPO, Saudi rulers, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have said on several occasions there would be more Aramco shale sales on Tadawul in the future.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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