Saudi Aramco’s first ever official earnings release on 12 August revealed net income of $46.9bn for the first half of 2019, down 11.5% on the $53.0bn reported for the same period in 2018 with the company blaming lower oil prices. But this didn’t stop the company shelling out a whopping $46.4bn to Riyadh in dividends payments, up from $32.0bn for the first half of 2018.

Aramco’s steady increase in the amount of financial and operational data it is willing to divulge comes as the company prepares for an initial public offering (IPO), now tentatively slated for 2021. This week’s earnings release and accompanying first-ever analysts’ call follows April’s release of comparable numbers for 2018 and 2017 in the prospectus for a $12bn debut international bond intended to help fund a takeover of state-led petchems firm Sabic (MEES, 5 April). (CONTINUED - 794 WORDS)