Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia's crown prince said that the kingdom is in talks to sell a 1% stake in the world state oil giant Saudi Aramco to a leading global energy company' as he predicted a rebounding economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The kingdom is looking at the possibility sale - which could be worth around $19 billion - to lock in customer demand for the country's crude, said Crown Prince Mohammed Bin SalmanPrince Mohammed Bin Salman in a rare interview on a Saudi television channel late Tuesday.While describing few details of the company involved in the talks, he said the sale could take place in the next two years.
I don't want to give any promises regarding the deal finalizing, but there are discussions happening right now about a 1% acquisition by one of the world's biggest energy companies, Prince Mohammed, the country's de facto ruler, announced.This deal could be very important in strengthening Aramco's sales in the country where this company is located.
The crown prince is increasingly leaning on Aramco, the world's biggest oil exporter, in order to help finance his plan to transform and diversify the Saudi economy - an initiative dubbed VisionVision 2030.That effort has faced hurdles in recent years, with investors deeply unhooked by the kingdom's domestic political crackdown and the killing of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and now with the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
Why was Saudi Aramco’s record sale of all-owned companies not an ordinary deal? QuickTake:
A 2019 Initial Public Offering in Aramco raised nearly $30 billion that was transferred to the Kingdom's sovereign wealth fund.The revenue was meant to support investments to help shift the biggest Arab economy away from a dependence on oil sales.Since then, Aramco has also started selling debt and taken some of its non-core assets in order to raise money for a $75 Billion dividend, the most of which is going to the state.
During the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the kingdom last year saw its economy shrink the most within more than three decades, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund.The outlook has since improved.The country's budget deficit is projected to be 4% of the gross domestic product by the end of this year, narrower than last year's 12% gap.
On the fifth anniversary of the launch of VisionVision 2030, Prince Mohammed said that the nation's unemployment rate will fall below 11% this year as KingdomKingdom Economy goes through a V-shaped' recovery.
The unemployment rate will fall next year to less than 11% then it will reach about 10%, then in 2030 is at 7%, he said in an interview on the Rotana Khalejia television channel.
The unemployment among Saudi nationals fell at the end of the last year to 12.6%, after peaking at 14.9% in the quarter that ended in September.
Prince Mohammed also touched on the delicate ties with the U.S. Where the administration of President Donald Trump has said it wants to re-calibrate a relationship that was a centerpiece of former President Joe Biden'sBiden's Mideast strategy.
Prince Mohammed said : "There will never be 100% agreement between two countries, there should be more than one agreement which will be made.'Between different House administrations, the margin of differences could decrease or increase but we agree with the Biden administration about 90% of the time, added he.
Asked about the kingdom's regional rival, Iran, the Crown Prince softened his tone from previous statements, saying that Saudi Arabia was working to solve its differences with the Islamic Republic.
Iran is a neighboring country in the end, said he, adding that the kingdom wanted Iran to prosper but took issue with its nuclear program and support for regional militias.
We are working today with our partners in the region to find solutions to these issues and we hope to overcome them and have a good and positive relationship with them, '' he said.
Throughout the 90 minute interview Prince Mohammed also said:
Some of the shares of the government in Aramco could be transferred to the sovereign wealth fund known as PIF. The decision to reduce the value-added tax to 15% last year'will be maximum from one to five years with VAT target at 5% to 10% The kingdom has no plans to introduce an income tax
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