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Thu 25 Feb 2016 04:02 PM

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Saudi Arabia's state utility to be split up by year-end

Senior official says four power generation companies will be created from the assets of Saudi Electricity Company

Saudi Arabia's state utility to be split up by year-end

State-controlled Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) is to be split into several firms this year to increase efficiency, a senior official told Al Arabiya television on Thursday.

"By the end of 2016, we will see the creation of these four power generation companies that will be made from the assets of SEC," said Abdullah al-Shehri, governor of the Electricity & Co-Generation Regulatory Authority.

He said the process would be open to competition and stakes in the new firms would be offered either to local citizens through offers on the stock market, or to local or international corporate partners.

Saudi Arabia has been considering the reform since at least 2009, but political pressure for such change has increased greatly since oil prices began to plunge in 2014, straining state finances.

The government is now laying plans to revamp much of the state sector through steps such as privatisation.

"It will be a decision made by a ministerial committee that is tasked with looking at privatisation. When these companies exist, and regulations are ready for the private sector, there will be a huge return for the country and improvement in services," Shehri told Arabiya.

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