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Saudi Wealth Fund Teases The Sale Of Its $85-Billion Aramco Stake

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, could soon have an announcement about a possible sale of part of its 4% stake in Saudi Aramco, which is currently worth around $85 billion, the governor of the fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, told Bloomberg in an interview on Tuesday.

Al-Rumayyan said that investors and analysts should “stay tuned” for news on the fund potentially selling down its stake in the state oil giant, which is the world’s largest oil company by production and market value.

At the beginning of this year, the Saudi government transferred a 4% stake in Aramco to the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund to boost its credit rating and financial position.

“The transfer is part of the Kingdom’s long-term strategy to support the restructuring of its economy, in line with Vision 2030,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in February.  

“The shares will bolster the Fund’s strong financial position and high credit ratings in the medium term, as the PIF relies on the value of its assets and the returns on its Assets under Management for its funding strategy,” the Crown Prince was quoted as saying by the Saudi Press Agency at the time.

The share injection was part of efforts to boost the Public Investment Fund’s assets under management from $500 billion to over $1 trillion by the end of 2025. The transferred stake was worth some $80 billion at the time.  

As of the end of the first quarter of 2022, the PIF had assets under management worth $620 billion.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Al-Rumayyan, who is also chairman of Aramco’s board of directors, said today that the oil giant has yet to determine the timing of the listing of its trading unit.

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Last week, Bloomberg reported, citing sources with knowledge of the plans, that Aramco was aiming to list the energy trading unit at the end of this year or in early 2023. The unit could be valued at over $30 billion, according to Bloomberg’s sources.      

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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