Saudi Aramco plans Sadara share sale – MEED (subscription)

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Saudi Aramco plans to cut its stake in its joint venture Sadara Chemical Company with Dow Chemical in the kingdom through an initial public offer of the company,

“Aramco has a stake of 65 per cent in Sadara – they want to become equal with Dow, which has a 35 per cent stake,” according to Sadara chief executive Ziad al-Labban. “The 30 per cent I believe will be IPOed by Saudi Aramco,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a petrochemical industry event in Abu Dhabi, without giving the timeline of planned equities market transaction.

State-owned Aramco has been looking at way to raise finances to fund its expansion and invest in maintenance of ageing oil and gas assets in the kingdom. The company has already tapped the debt market with its debut $3bn sukuk this year and is eyeing further debt deals in future.

Aramco, which aims to diversify away from its core business extraction and sale of oil and gas and investments in petrochemicals ventures kingdom, earlier this year, invited banks to pitch for an advisory role to help it invest as much as $5bn in renewable projects.

UK’s HSBC, US-based JPMorgan and Swiss Credit Suisse were among the lenders asked to send proposals for the role, which includes identifying potential acquisition targets and advising on deals. Aramco is considering making the first investment into renewable sector as early as this year as it seeks to bring foreign expertise into the kingdom.

Within the downstream segment, Sadara is one of its main partnerships with an international player. The company is building the world’s largest chemical complex ever built in a single phase, with 26 integrated world-scale manufacturing plants that will produce more than three million tons of products every year.

The possibility of Sadara share sale has been around for years and it is not clear, if the deal will happen before or after Aramco’s own IPO in 2018.

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