Saudi Aramco hires banks for multi-tranche bond deal

FILE PHOTO: A view shows branded oil tanks at the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Aramco said on Monday it has hired a group of banks ahead of a multi-tranche U.S. dollar-denominated bond issuance, as the world’s largest oil company seeks to raise cash amid lower oil prices.

Goldman Sachs, Citi, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and NCB Capital were hired to arrange investor calls starting on Monday ahead of the planned transaction, it said in a bourse filing.

Other banks involved in the deal include BNP Paribas, BOC International, BofA Securities, Credit Agricole, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Mizuho, MUFG, SMBC Nikko and Societe Generale, a document issued by one of the banks on the deal showed.

A benchmark multi-tranche offering consisting of three-, five-, 10-, 30- and/or 50-year tranches will follow, subject to market conditions. Benchmark bonds are generally meant to be at least $500 million per tranche.

The announcement comes as Gulf issuers show no sign of slowing a blitz to the international debt markets this year as they seek to plug finances hit by low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.

Issuances from the region so far this year have already shot through last year’s record, again surpassing $100 billion.

Ratings agency Fitch revised its outlook last week on Aramco to negative from stable, a day after similar action on the sovereign of Saudi Arabia, which holds a controlling stake in the oil giant.

“This reflects the influence the state exerts on the company through strategic direction, taxation and dividends, as well as regulating the level of production in line with OPEC commitments,” Fitch said.

Aramco earlier this month reported a 44.6% drop in third-quarter net profit as the pandemic continued to choke demand and weigh on crude prices.

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