By Marwa Rashad and Rania El Gamal
RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) – State-owned Saudi Aramco bought 2.1 billion shares of Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) on the stock market on Sunday as it completed its deal agreed last year to buy 70% of the petrochemical giant, according to sources and market data.
Four transactions were executed on the Saudi exchange, known as Tadawul, involving SABIC shares worth 259,125 billion riyals ($69.1) billion, Tadawal data showed, without naming the buyer.
Four sources confirmed the transactions were part of the Aramco acquisition agreed in 2019 and which will be one of the biggest in the global chemical industry once completed.
The shares are being sold by the Saudi sovereign fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), giving it more cash to invest in the government programme to diversify the economy away from oil.
Sources told Reuters in May that Aramco had been looking to restructure the deal after SABIC’s market value fell more than 40% due to an oil price slump. Sunday’s transactions suggested the deal price had not changed but it was unclear whether the structure for making payments to PIF had been revised.
Sunday’s share trades involved cross transactions, also known as special deals on Tadawul, which are executed at an agreed price between a buyer and seller, without those involved.
“The deal completion is on-track with expectations to be finalised before the end of the second quarter,” Aramco told Reuters in a statement when asked about the transactions. “We will make a completion announcement in due course.”
Aramco has been boosting investments in refining and other downstream industries.
Three of Sunday’s deals were completed at 123.40 riyals per share and the fourth at 123.20 riyals, prices that were similar to last year’s agreed price of 123.39 riyals per share.
SABIC shares ended at 88.50 riyals on Sunday.
Aramco raised $10 billion in a loan this year to help with the SABIC acquisition, sources previously said.
(Additionnal reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Edmund Blair)