Saudi Aramco bond debut raises $12bn amid record bids

Aramco’s bond debut attracts $30bn bids

Saudi Aramco breaks record as demand for its bond tops $85 billion

Saudi Arabia's state-backed oil colossus has raised $12bn in a record bond market debut which secures the Kingdom's position among global investors.

The state-owned oil giant is marketing a USA dollar-denominated debt issue split into six tranches with maturities ranging from three to 30 years.

Speaking on Monday at the inaugural Saudi Energy Forum in Riyadh, organized by information consultancy Gulf Intelligence, Al-Falih said that the issue attracted demand "north of $30 billion".

The business portal noted that demand is high notwithstanding the fact that yields offered may dip below those paid out on Saudi sovereign debt, explaining that demand "reflects intense investor appetite for high-quality paper" following a temporary turn away from the kingdom over the Khashoggi scandal past year. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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That would represent an oversubscription of three times the size of the bond, if Aramco sticks to its plan to issue around $10-billion in the debt sale, due this week.

The acquisition will be financed through a mixture of bonds as well as the oil company's vast cash reserves, The National reported last week.

The investor clamour raised even more interest than the Kingdom's sovereign bond market debut in 2016, which drew offers worth more than $67bn, and trounced the $52bn interest in the $12bn deal offered by Gulf rival Qatar.

"The success of this bond issue will be the litmus test and a crucial precursor for the anticipated Aramco IPO within the next two years", said Salah Shamma, head of investment, MENA equities, at Franklin Templeton.

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The firm announced last month it was buying a 70-percent stake in SABIC from Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, for $69.1 billion.

Falih is also chairman of state-owned Aramco, the world's largest energy company. Aramco said last week it has established a Global Medium Term Note Programme and will conduct a series of fixed income investor meetings to potentially sell a bond to partly fund the Sabic acquisition. The banks not only want to participate on the bond sale, but also ensure they're well placed in case the kingdom goes ahead with an initial public offering for Aramco.

Aramco has hired Lazard as financial adviser for the bond deal.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are managing the bond sale along with Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, and NCB Capital Co.

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