With $ 111 billion in net income in 2018, Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, had bigger returns last year than Apple Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp combined. Before taxes and other expenses, the company said it made $ 212 billion, a figure similar to that of the combined military budgets of the 28 member states of the European Union.
The financial information released on Monday was disclosed in a prospectus for a planned sale of bonds of at least $ 10 billion to help finance the acquisition of a $ 69.1 billion stake in Saudi Arabia's national petrochemical company. The 470-page document provided the first look under Aramco's finances since the company, formerly run by the Americans, was nationalized more than three decades ago and its profits became state secrets.
By publicizing Aramco's profits and other detailed financial information, some Saudi officials hope to dispel doubts about its determination to list Aramco publicly by 2021, in what would probably be the biggest IPO of all time. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's ruler, wants to use the IPO to raise tens of billions of dollars to build new futuristic cities, diversify the kingdom's oil-dependent economy, and finance a range of non-oil activities. industries such as technology, entertainment and mining.
The 33-year-old prince approached the IPO in early 2016, but concern about spreading Aramco's finances helped delay it for years, to the point that many bankers and Saudi officials working on the plan believed that would never happen.