Aramco may appoint JPMorgan, HSBC for bond sale

The global banks, along with Riyad Bank, will help the Saudi oil company set up a Saudi riyal-denominated sukuk programme, according to Bloomberg

The size of the first sale hasn’t yet been determined and other banks could be appointed before it takes place.
The size of the first sale hasn’t yet been determined and other banks could be appointed before it takes place.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter, is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Holdings Plc and Riyad Bank on the company’s first sale of Islamic bonds, Bloomberg has reported.

The three banks will help the Saudi oil company set up a Saudi riyal-denominated sukuk programme, with the first sale potentially taking place this year, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

The size of the first sale hasn’t yet been determined and other banks could be appointed before it takes place, the people said. Aramco is also considering setting up a dollar-bond programme, the people said.

Saudi Aramco is at the centre of a plan to wean the country’s economy off its dependency on oil revenues. The government outlined plans to sell a less than 5% stake in Aramco to the public and transfer ownership of the rest of the company to the Public Investment Fund, transforming it into a $2tn sovereign wealth fund.

Once completed, the move will mean that Saudi Arabia derives most of its revenue from investments, rather than oil sales, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in April.

The company started holding talks with banks about selling Islamic bonds earlier this year, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg in February.

The closest Saudi Aramco has come in the past to selling debt is a SAR3.75bn ($1bn approximately) sukuk issued by Saudi Aramco Total Refining & Petrochemical Co., a joint venture with France’s Total SA known as Satorp.

In 2013, another Saudi Aramco joint venture, Sadara Chemical Co. with Dow Chemical Co., raised SAR7.5bn through a sukuk to finance a chemicals complex.

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