Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has doubled its stake in oil giant Aramco to 8% after the transfer of a new tranche of shares to a company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF). reported the official SPA news agency on Sunday.
Crown Prince and de facto ruler of the kingdom, Mohammed bin Salman, announced the “transfer of 4% of the shares of state-owned Saudi Aramco to the Saudi Arabian Investment Company (Sanabil Investments), a company 100% owned by PIF,” SPA added in a statement. The same number of shares had been transferred last year to the PIF, representing at the time 80 billion dollars.
This new operation "is part of the continuation of long-term initiatives aimed at stimulating and diversifying the Saudi economy", and strengthens "the financial position and credit rating of the PIF" headed by the crown prince, specified the agency.
The Saudi state remains the main shareholder of the oil company after this transfer, with a stake of 90.18%. The powerful Saudi crown prince is carrying out a vast program of reforms aimed at reducing the kingdom's dependence on oil, of which it is the world's largest exporter.