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Tue 29 Oct 2019 02:44 PM

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Saudi Aramco said to earn $68bn in first nine months of 2019

Figure, given to analysts working on Aramco's IPO, would cement its position as the world's most profitable oil company

Saudi Aramco said to earn $68bn in first nine months of 2019

Vastly profitable though the company is, the Saudis have struggled to persuade investors to accept their valuation of $2 trillion or more.

Saudi Aramco earned $68 billion in the first nine months of the year, cementing its position as the world’s most profitable oil company, according to people familiar with the figures.

The unaudited net figure was given to financial analysts working on the company’s initial public offering, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Aramco has not released comparative numbers for last year and its media office declined to comment.

Aramco’s nine-month profit is a multiple of the annual earnings of Exxon Mobil Corp, the biggest publicly listed oil firm. The Saudi company earned $111 billion last year, making it the most profitable business on the planet.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is counting on that profit and the nation’s vast oil reserves to attract investors to the company’s IPO, which in turn will help fund his plan to overhaul the Saudi economy.

Vastly profitable though the company is, the Saudis have struggled to persuade investors to accept their valuation of $2 trillion or more.

The IPO process will start on Sunday and shares of Aramco will start trading on the Saudi stock exchange on December 11, Saudi television news channel Al Arabiya reported Tuesday.

The company has pledged to pay a dividend of at least $75 billion next year.

The earnings cover a period where the company was dealing with one of the biggest crises in its history. Aerial attacks on its facilities in September briefly slashed output by half. Aramco says it relied on crude in storage and swapped between different grades to honor all of its commitments to customers.

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