Aramco mulls Sabic stake purchase amid oil giant's IPO plans

Saudi Aramco may buy shares in chemical producer Saudi Basic Industries Corp. from the country’s sovereign wealth fund as the world’s biggest crude oil exporter expands its business ahead of a planned initial public offering.

Photo: Hasan Jamali/AP/Polfoto/Arkiv

The state oil producer "is engaged in very early-stage discussions with the Public Investment Fund regarding acquiring a strategic interest in Sabic by way of a private transaction," Aramco said in a statement. The company has no plans to acquire any publicly held shares in Sabic, as Saudi Basic is known, it said. The state-run PIF, which owns 70 percent of Sabic, confirmed the talks in a separate statement.

Middle Eastern crude producers are expanding their refining and petrochemical businesses to squeeze more profit from the crude oil they pump. Governments in the region are striving to diversify government income away from oil sales and build new industries. In Saudi Arabia, the planned IPO of Aramco, officially known as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., could be the world’s largest if the government’s targeted valuation of about USD 2 trillion is reached. Most analysts have put the valuation in a range of USD 1 trillion to USD 1.5 trillion.

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