The world’s largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, is looking to refinance as much as $10 billion in loans that it raised six years ago, banking sources told Reuters on Thursday.
The Saudi state-held oil giant has been reportedly very active on the debt market in recent months after last year’s crisis reduced its profits. At the same time, Aramco continues to pledge annual dividends of $75 billion to shareholders, the biggest of which is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with more than 98 percent.
The latest debt that Aramco aims to refinance is a $10-billion revolving credit facility raised in 2015 from a group of banks. That facility included two five-year loans, one each in U.S. dollars and Saudi riyals, and two one-year loans renewable each year.
Saudi Aramco has now decided to refinance the $10 billion loans, instead of renewing the one-year loans every year, Reuters’ sources said.
According to one of those sources, the Saudi firm has also recently renewed another one-year $10 billion loan which it took in May 2020.
Saudi Aramco was said last month to be seeking to extend that $10-billion loan which it raised from a group of banks last year in May to finance its acquisition of Sabic, the Saudi petrochemicals major, which cost the energy company some $69 billion and wrapped up in June 2020.
The loan was supposed to be repaid from the proceeds of a bond that Aramco issued later last year. However, the company did not repay the Sabic loan. It raised $8 billion from the bond. It was the second bond that Aramco issued in as many years after placing a $12-billion bond with international buyers in 2019.
Over the past two years, Saudi Aramco’s debt levels have jumped nearly four times as the oil giant was financing the Sabic deal. Then the collapse in oil prices hit its revenues and profits.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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