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Saudi Aramco Shares Tick Higher on Stock Sale News

Aramco’s shares climbed slightly higher today after media reports that the company planned to sell more shares as soon as next month.

The news about a planned sale was exclusively reported 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.

Aramco’s initial public offering, which took place in late 2019, became the world’s largest as it generated $25.6 billion from the sale of 1.5% in the Saudi state company.

Aramco is one of the biggest sources of funding for ambitious public investment projects, notably the Neom smart city project that is estimated to cost $500 billion. Neom has been plagued by delays and other problems, not least because of the variability in funds availability. According to some reports, the Saudi government has been having trouble making the project work financially and was in need of fresh cash.

Aramco reported first-quarter profits of $27.3 billion. This was down from $31.9 billion for the same period of 2023, due to lower crude oil volumes sold, weakening refining and chemicals margins, and lower finance and other income. This was partially offset by lower production royalties and an increase in crude oil prices compared to the same period last year, the Saudi company said.

The company is actively investing in downstream projects, natural gas production, and international expansion into low-carbon energy. It is also investing heavily in artificial intelligence and other high-tech business areas. Aramco spent $3.5 billion on research and development last year, GlobalData said in a recent report, noting the company was active in as many as 250 areas of innovation including, besides AI, drone technology, robotics, and electric vehicles.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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