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Saudi Aramco to issue bonds as it seeks cash amid oil slump

Saudi Aramco to issue bonds as it seeks cash amid oil slump
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Dubai: Saudi Arabia's oil giant Aramco announced Monday it will issue international bonds as it seeks a cash infusion to help pay for billions of dollars in dividends the company promised shareholders before the global Coronavirus pandemic sent oil prices plummeting.

In a statement posted on the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange, the company said it plans to issue US.dollar denominated bonds but did not specify the size of the issuance. The bonds, which range from three to 50 years, are targeted to institutional investors with a minimum subscription of

$200,000.

The amount issued and the returns are subject to market conditions, the company said.

Aramco floated a sliver of the company last year as part of an ambitious plan by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to divert those earnings toward investments that can help fuel the kingdom's growth as he tries to steer the economy away from its dependence on oil revenue for survival.

Prince Mohammed sought to encourage Saudi citizens and investors to buy Aramco shares and push up the company's valuation for its stock market debut by promising an annual payout of at least $75 billion.

Even so, almost all of this dividend money goes to the company's majority owner, the Saudi government, to help cover state spending.

Monday's announcement to issue bonds is aimed at raising capital needed to pay the promised dividends, which at $18.75 billion a quarter exceeds Aramco's current

cash flow.

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