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Saudi Aramco awaits government's call for IPO, reports earnings for first time


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