Saudi Aramco confirmed Thursday that it is engaged in "very early-stage discussions" with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to acquire via a private transaction a "strategic" interest in chemical producer Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
The announcement came amid recent news reports that the state-owned oil company was considering buying shares in SABIC, the world's fourth biggest petrochemicals company, from the country's sovereign wealth fund ahead of Saudi Aramco's planned initial public offering.
"These discussions are preliminary and there is no certainty that any such transaction will take place. Saudi Aramco has no plans to acquire any publicly held shares of SABIC," Saudi Aramco said in a press release.
However, the company noted that it had been evaluating a number of acquisition opportunities, both locally and globally, "consistent with the company’s strategy of rebalancing its portfolio by moving further into downstream and the petrochemical sector in particular".
"If further announcements are appropriate, they will be made in compliance with applicable regulations," it said.
Saudi Aramco is a fully integrated, global petroleum and chemicals enterprise, and a major producer of crude oil and condensate.
By Hale Turkes