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Saudi Aramco weighs pipeline stake sale to raise cash

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Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, is weighing the sale of a stake in its pipeline unit to raise money amid a slump in crude prices, according to people familiar with the matter.

[RIYADH] Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, is weighing the sale of a stake in its pipeline unit to raise money amid a slump in crude prices, according to people familiar with the matter.

Aramco may need to raise cash this year as it confronts a historic rout in oil prices and a burgeoning list of spending obligations. The company has reaffirmed its commitment to pay out US$75 billion in dividends this year and also needs to make the first installment for its US$70 billion acquisition of a stake in chemicals producer Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

Aramco, the world's most valuable publicly traded company after selling shares on the Riyadh exchange last year, could raise more than US$10 billion from the sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Aramco has already held some preliminary discussions with potential advisers on the deal, but talks are still at an early stage and Aramco may decide against a sale, the people said.

Saudi Aramco didn't immediately respond to requests to comment.

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