Saudi Aramco may issue US$10bil bond for Sabic deal
Kingdom will decide in ‘next few weeks’ on size of issuance
DUBAI: Saudi Aramco could tap the bond market for about US$10bil to help fund the acquisition of petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), according to the country’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih (pic).
The kingdom will decide in the “next few weeks” about the size of the proposed bond, though the offering would not be “huge”, Al-Falih told reporters in Abu Dhabi. “It will be probably in the US$10bil range.”
Aramco plans to tap the market in the second quarter, selling its first international bond and forcing the world’s largest oil producer to disclose its accounts to investors for the first time since its nationalisation roughly four decades ago.
It may also have to make public about oil reserves and operations.
Aramco is in talks to buy a 70% share in Sabic from the Public Investment Fund, which could cost about US$70bil.
Some had expected the potential bond to rank among the largest issued by a company if Aramco planned to finance a large chunk of the Sabic deal with it, though Al-Falih last week played down chatter in the market that Aramco would fund the entire deal with the bond offering.
Saudi Arabia last week sold US$7.5bil of international bonds in the first test of how much damage the killing of columnist Jamal
details Khashoggi inflicted on investor appetite. While early indications showed the kingdom would have to pay up, the premium narrowed substantially as the day went by.
Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in December the nation intended to sell about 120 billion riyals (US$32bil) of local and foreign currency debt this year to help finance its deficit. — Bloomberg