Saudi Arabia’s giant state-owned oil company makes $47bn half-year profit – business live | Business



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Saudi Arabia’s secretive state-owned oil company has made a $47bn profit for the first half, cementing its position as the world’s most profitable company.

Saudi Aramco will host its first-ever earnings call with investors and analysts today (a webcast at 2pm BST) – as it works towards a $2tn stock market flotation, planned within the next couple of years.

Saudi Arabia recently revealed that the float is back on, after putting it on hold several months ago. The IPO is a key part of Saudi plans for an economic transformation by privatising part of its vast oil wealth and opening the kingdom to international investment, and lessening its reliance on oil.

Saudi Aramco’s profit of $46.9bn in the six months to 30 June is down from $53bn a year earlier, however, due to lower oil prices. You can read the results here.

Last year, Aramco racked up profits of $111.1bn to overtake Apple, dwarfing every other corporation in the world. Apple, the world’s largest listed company, made $59.5bn (excluding one-off items) in 2018 while ExxonMobil, the largest US oil company, made $20.8bn.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, dipped 0.4% to $58.30 a barrel this morning while US crude lost 0.4% to $54.3 a barrel.

Saudi Aramco’s president & chief executive Amin H. Nasser said:

Despite lower oil prices during the first half of 2019, we continued to deliver solid earnings and strong free cash flow underpinned by our consistent operational performance, cost management and fiscal discipline.

Disclosing our financial results for the first time, as part of our $12bn debut international bond issuance, marked a significant milestone in Saudi Aramco’s history.

Asian stock markets are mixed, with worries over the US-China trade war lingering. Japan, Singapore and India are closed for holidays.

On Friday, comments from Donald Trump that Washington was continuing trade talks with China but would not make a deal for now drove a late sell-off on Wall Street.

European shares are expected to open higher, with stock futures suggesting 0.6% gains for the UK’s FTSE 100 index and Germany’s Dax. Sterling is flat against the dollar and the euro, at $1.2041 and €1.0748.

It’s August, and the economic calendar is very light.