In the middle of its roadshow to raise some $10 billion in investments, Saudi Aramco exposed its earnings for the first time ever.
According to a report from credit agency Moody’s, the Saudi oil business made $111 billion last year. The ratings giant based that on a plan for a massive bond offering Aramco expects to use to help finance the 70 percent acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. Aramco aims to purchase that stake in the state-owned petrochemical company for $69.1 billion to further expand its reach in the commodities market.
It is the very first public disclosure of revenues by Aramco in the decades the Saudi federal government has owned it.
Formerly hesitant to share its financials, Aramco needed to report them in order to obtain a public rating and start issuing public bonds on the global level.
Regardless of the enormous earnings, the state-owned oil giant was ranked by credit firms at par with Saudi Arabia, meaning the kingdom’s sluggish economy will weigh on Aramco’s cost of borrowing as it prepares its bond market debut.
Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih stated earlier this year the prepared bond sale would raise around $10 billion, but banking sources indicated the deal could be more significant.
Credit firms Fitch and Moody’s rated Aramco A+ and A1 apiece, but both asserted that without sovereign rating constraints Aramco would be in the same league as better-rated worldwide oil companies like Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Shell.
Rehan Akbar, senior credit officer at Moody’s, explained, “Saudi Aramco has many characteristics of a Aaa-rated corporate, with minimal debt relative to cash flows, large scale of production, market leadership and access in Saudi Arabia to one of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves.”
Aramco is the world’s most profitable company
By contrast, Apple (AAPL), the world’s most lucrative public business, made $59.4 billion in 2018, just shy of half of Aramco’s profits. U.S. Big Oil supermajor ExxonMobil (XOM), the largest United States oil business, came in at $20.8 billion, while Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA), the largest publicly traded oil company, made $23.4 billion.
Aramco pushed to go public last year, but low oil prices threw a wrench in the plan. It would have put 5% of the company up for sale in what may have been the largest initial public offering ever. The company was supposedly aiming to raise $100 billion in the offering, which would value the business at $2 trillion, or two times as much as Microsoft (MSFT), the most valuable public company with a market worth of $904.8 billion.