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Saudis Aramco says H1 2019 net income slips to USD46.9 billion

Riyadh: Saudi state-owned energy giant Aramco said Monday its first half net income for 2019 had slipped to $46.9 billion, a first such disclosure for the secretive company ahead of its debut earnings call. "The company's net income was $46.9 billion for the first half (of) 2019, compared to $53.0 billion for the same period last year," the company said in a statement. The fall in income, owing to lower oil prices, comes amid renewed speculation the company was preparing for its much-delayed overseas stock listing.

"Despite lower oil prices during the first half of 2019, we continued to deliver solid earnings and strong free cash flow," Aramco CEO Amin Nasser was quoted as saying in the statement. It is the first time the company has published half-year financial results and comes after Aramco opened its secretive accounts for the first time in April as it prepares to raise funds from investors.

It made no mention of the planned initial public offering in Monday's statement. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has previously said the IPO -- dubbed as potentially the world's biggest stock sale -- would take place in late 2020 or early 2021. Saudi Arabia plans to sell up to five percent of the world's largest energy firm and hopes to raise up to $100 billion. The planned IPO forms the cornerstone of a reform programme envisaged by Prince Mohammed to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil. Saudi Arabia has not announced where the listing will be held, but London, New York and Hong Kong have all vied for a slice of the much-touted IPO.