Saudi Aramco has for the first time disclosed the financial performance it has kept secret for three-quarters of a century, revealing that the kingdom’s state oil company generated more profits last year than any other company in the world.
The disclosure, made in a prospectus aimed at courting investors ahead of its debut international bond sale, showed the group generated $111.1bn in net income last year, almost double that of Apple and five times that of rival oil producer Royal Dutch Shell.
Saudi unease about disclosing the company’s corporate make-up and ownership structure was among the reasons Saudi Aramco delayed a much-heralded initial public offering last year. Disagreement over its valuation ultimately forced an indefinite postponement.
But the company decided to tap the public debt markets to raise funds for its recent $69bn purchase of local petrochemicals company Sabic. The sale, expected to raise $10bn, will provide a test of fund managers’ willingness to back a company whose influence is tied to its historic connection to the development of the Saudi state.