Saudi Aramco to prepare $ 10 billion loan for buyers of pipeline companies: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Aramco prepares up to $ 10 billion in finance package it could offer buyers of its pipeline business unit, three sources said as the oil giant seeks to extract value from its assets at a time of falling oil prices.

Aramco is in talks with the banks to provide “core funding,” which is a seller-provided finance package that buyers can use to support their purchase.

International investors including BlackRock, KKR and Brookfield Asset Management, who may invest in the pipeline business, are also in talks with lenders about possible financing, the sources said, speaking anonymously as the talks are private. .

The loan could reach $ 10 billion, two of the sources said, covering much of the value of the assets.

Aramco and Brookfield declined to comment. BlackRock and KKR did not respond to requests for comment.

The planned sale of the pipeline would be similar to infrastructure deals signed over the past two years by Abu Dhabi’s national oil company ADNOC, which has raised billions of dollars by leasing its oil and gas pipeline assets to investors, sources previously said.

Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, completed the largest IPO to date in late 2019, raising $ 25.6 billion. He then sold more shares, bringing the total to $ 29.4 billion.

These funds have been transferred to the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund tasked with transforming the economy, as the company grapples with climate change and shifts from fossil fuels to more energy. low carbon content.

The pandemic has dealt another blow to the fossil fuel industry by destroying demand.

Saudi Aramco’s profits fell last year, but stuck to the promised annual dividend of $ 75 billion, most of which goes to the government.

He will probably have to transfer large sums to the Saudi government and the PIF in the years to come.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, said last month that Aramco would sell more shares in the coming years to bolster the PIF’s coffers.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia, Saeed Azhar, Yousef Saba; edited by Barbara Lewis

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