Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, has stated that the kingdom is in negotiations to sell a one percent stake in state oil company Saudi Aramco to a major global energy company.
Crown Prince remarked that the world’s largest oil company Aramco, which was listed on the Saudi stock exchange in late 2019, could sell additional shares, including to international investors, within the next year or two.
“There are talks now for the acquisition of a 1 percent stake by a leading global energy company in an important deal that would boost Aramco’s sales in a major country. There are talks with other companies for different stakes, and part of Aramco’s shares could be transferred to the (Saudi) Public Investment Fund (PIF) and a part listed on the Saudi bourse,” he said in a statement.
The initial public offering of Saudi Aramco in 2019 was viewed as a pillar of the economic diversification program aimed at attracting foreign investment. The energy giant has raised $25.6 billion in the initial public offering (IPO) and later sold additional shares under a “greenshoe option” to bring the total to $29.4 billion.
The proceeds of that offer were transferred to the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Prince Mohammed’s preferred vehicle for transforming Saudi Arabia’s economy and diversifying away from oil revenue.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), last year the country’s economy was at its lowest level in past 30 years. But the outlook has improved. According to the reports, the country’s budget shortfall is expected to be 4 percent of GDP by the end of this year, which is less than the 12 percent gap last year.