Saudi Aramco, the world's largest crude producer, highlighted its financial muscle and resilience to slumping oil prices on Monday.
State-owned Aramco stands ready to execute an initial public offering, but any decision on timing will be left to the country's government, Chief Financial Officer Khalid al-Dabbagh said on the earnings call, repeating a common refrain from company officials.
"The company is ready for the IPO. The timing of the IPO itself, this is a shareholder issue. They will announce it depending on their perception of the optimal conditions," Dabbagh said, providing no further information on how the oil giant would operate as a publicly traded company.
Saudi Arabia's national oil company announced net income of $46.9 billion for the first six months of 2019, down from $53.2 billion in the same period a year earlier. Even with the year-on-year slide, Aramco remains the world's most profitable company by far and talked up its durability in the face of lower oil prices, with Brent futures having fallen 20% since April to less than $60/b.
Aramco, which averaged crude production of 10 million b/d and refining throughput of 4.6 million b/d in the first half of the year, is working toward an IPO by 2021, whose proceeds could transform the kingdom's economy.ew