Saudi Aramco reignites IPO prospects after revealing first half profits

Saudi Aramco has claimed it is ready to move forward with a record US$2 trillion market flotation, after the state-owned Saudi oil giant published its profits for the first half of the year in its miaden investor call.

Lower oil prices pushed the company’s profits for the six months to June down by 12% to $46.9 billion, compared with $53.2 billion during the same period in 2018.

However, Aramco’s profits remain higher than the six biggest listed oil firms combined, and the group is the world’s most profitable company, comfortably ahead of tech giant Apple.

In the wake of the financial statement, Aramco’s finance chief Khalid al-Dabbagh said: “We have delivered a strong and unmatched financial performance despite lower oil prices and challenging market conditions.

“The company is ready for the IPO,” he added. “The timing of the IPO itself, this is a shareholder issue. They will announce it depending on their perception of the optimal conditions.”

A mega-float for Aramco has been in the pipeline for several years, with exchanges in New York, London and Singapore vying for the listing, while the company itself has remained coy on the matter.

Aramco also announced it would take a 20% stake in the oil-to-chemicals business of India’s Reliance Industries for $75 billion including debt, in one of the biggest ever foreign investments in India.