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Saudi Aramco Could Be Coming to the Stock Market Soon

The world’s largest state-owned oil company could be coming to the stock market, with the Saudi royal family pondering the sale of a minority stake in Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

The world’s largest state-owned oil company could be coming to the stock market, with the Saudi royal family pondering the sale of a minority stake in Saudi Arabian Oil Co. The company, known as Saudi Aramco, said it has been studying various options to allow broad public participation in its equity through the listing in the capital markets of an appropriate percentage of the company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle of its downstream subsidiaries. The announcement followed a report in The Economist based on an interview with Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi’s deputy crown prince and first in line to the throne occupied by his father, King Salman. The sale would initially consist of a small minority stake, perhaps 5 percent, of Aramco and is likely to take place on the Saudi Exchange, according to the report. The sale of even a small percentage of a company likely to be valued in the trillions of dollars would raise a substantial amount of cash for the Saudi monarchy at a time when the precipitous slump in oil prices has cut deeply into the kingdom’s budget. The Saudi state in December cut government spending and raised domestic fuel prices as oil dropped to below $35 a barrel from more than $110 a barrel in 2014. Based on Aramco’s figures, its oil reserves are just over 10 times that of Exxon Mobil Co. (XOM), the largest listed oil company.

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