Aramco May Buy into Reliance Petchems
After successfully raising more than $12 billion in a bond issue, Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest crude oil producer and newly identified as the world’s most profitable company, has a stash of cash.
Reports suggest the Saudi group’s increased financial leverage may give it a good start on not only acquiring compatriot SABIC from the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) but picking up other assets as well.
According to the newspaper Times of India, Aramco is engaged in “serious discussions” to acquire up to 25% of Reliance Industries’ refining and petrochemicals business.
The paper said a minority stake in the huge Indian conglomerate that operates the world’s biggest refining complex could be worth $10-15 billion. This would value Reliance’s refining and petchems businesses at around $55-60 billion.
Citing people with knowledge of the development, the Times said an agreement between Aramco and Reliance could be reached as early as June. US investment bank Goldman Sachs reportedly has been mandated to advise on the proposed acquisition.
Aramco’s CEO, Amin Nasser, is believed to have met Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani to discuss the Saudi state-owned company’s businesses including crude, chemicals and non-metallics.
The Reuters news agency noted that the Saudi group’s interest in Reliance was piqued after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to New Delhi in February. The prince said he expected investment opportunities worth more than $100 billion in India over the next two years.