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Saudi Aramco may issue US$10b bond for Sabic deal

Dubai

SAUDI Aramco could tap the bond market for about US$10 billion to help fund the acquisition of petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), according to the country's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.

The kingdom will decide in the "next few weeks" about the size of the proposed bond, though the offering would not be "huge", Mr Khalid told reporters in Abu Dhabi. "It will be probably in about the US$10 billion range."

Aramco plans to tap the market in the second quarter, selling its first international bond and forcing the world's largest oil producer to disclose its accounts to investors for the first time since its nationalisation roughly four decades ago. It may also have to make public details about oil reserves and operations.

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Aramco is in talks to buy a 70 per cent share in Sabic from the Public Investment Fund, which could cost about US$70 billion. Some had expected the potential bond to rank among the largest issued by a company if Aramco planned to finance a large chunk of the Sabic deal with it. BLOOMBERG