DUBAI/MUMBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Aramco is planning a multibillion dollar investment in India’s Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) because the energy monumental diversifies its oil industry, where weaker prices prick its first-half of profit by 12%.

In preparation for what is inclined to be the arena’s splendid preliminary public providing (IPO), narrate-plug Aramco began publishing its results this year and furthermore began issuing world bonds. The arena’s high oil producer plans to open an IPO by 2020-2021, having postponed its flotation from final year.

Coinciding with the liberate of first half of results, Aramco signed a letter of intent to determine on a 20% stake in Reliance’s oil-to-chemical substances industry in conception to be one of the essential splendid ever international investments in India, Reliance said on Monday.

Aramco’s Senior Vice President of Finance, Khalid al-Dabbagh, confirmed the letter of intent had been signed nonetheless added that talks with Reliance had been at “very, very early stages”.

He furthermore said that Aramco is willing for its IPO, nonetheless the timing will be made up our minds by its sole shareholder, the Saudi executive.

Whereas phrases of the deal are yet to be finalised, Reliance will discover roughly $15 billion, including some debt adjustments for the 20% stake, P.M.S. Prasad, Govt Director of Reliance Industries said, adding the 2 firms aim to shut the deal by March 2020.

Aramco is expanding its downstream, or refining, chemical substances and advertising and marketing, footprint globally by signing recent deals and boosting the capability of its plant life to accurate recent markets for its low and within the good deal of its misfortune to any downturn in oil seek recordsdata from.

For years, Aramco has been a normal low dealer to Indian refiners via long-term low contracts.

And while it owned stakes in refineries or storage property in diversified key Asia markets resembling China, Japan and South Korea as smartly as within the US where it owns Motiva, the splendid national refinery, it has not secured that similar access in India, a immediate-rising market for gas and petrochemicals.

The deal will gaze Reliance purchase up to 500,000 barrels a day of low oil from Aramco, which might likely perhaps more than double the volumes that Reliance buys now, Reliance’s Prasad said.

“This signifies ideal synergy between the arena’s splendid oil producer and the arena’s splendid integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex,” said Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, while asserting the deal in Mumbai on Monday.

Ambani, who is Asia’s richest man, said the deal might likely perhaps be the splendid international investment within the historical previous of Reliance and furthermore conception to be one of the essential splendid international investments ever in India.

PROFIT DECLINE

Aramco reported a net profit of $46.9 billion within the essential half of of 2019, down from $Fifty three billion for the same period final year. No matter the profit decline, Aramco remained the arena’s most profitable firm by manner of headline numbers.

FILE PHOTO: An Aramco employee walks near an oil tank at Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia Could perhaps furthermore simply 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo

By comparability, Apple Inc (AAPL.O), the arena’s most profitable listed firm, made $31.5 billion, U.S. rival Exxon Mobil Corp. around $5.5 billion and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) some $8.8 billion.

“No matter decrease oil prices throughout the essential half of of 2019, we persevered to affirm stable earnings and indispensable free money walk underpinned by our consistent operational efficiency, fee administration an fiscal discipline,” CEO Amin Nasser said in an announcement.

Aramco has been boosting investment in refining and petrochemicals, with the aim of nearly tripling its chemical substances manufacturing to 34 million tonnes per year by 2030 and raising its world refining capability to eight-10 million barrels per day (bpd) from more than 5 million bpd.

The firm has furthermore been occupied with many of the kingdom’s high-profile deals within the final two years asserting no not up to $50 billion price of investments in Saudi Arabia, Asia and the US.

The Reliance address Aramco will conceal all of Reliance’s refining and petrochemical property, along with its majority stake in its petroleum retail joint conducting.

Closing week, British oil essential BP (BP.L) said it change into forging a gas retailing conducting with Reliance, with the Indian firm owning a 51% stake.

Aramco’s deals sign how Riyadh needs to be obvious that that it can likely perhaps be the final oil producer left standing when future seek recordsdata from for low slows, officials exclaim, and with a fee of producing around $4 a barrel, Aramco not often has any competitors.

The firm generated entire half of-year income, including diversified earnings linked to sales, of $163.88 billion, down from $167.68 billion a year earlier. Free money walk rose 6.7% to $38 billion.

Aramco said the fall in earnings change into mainly as a result of a 4% tumble within the practical realized trace of low oil to $66 from $69 per barrel and an produce bigger in purchases, producing and manufacturing charges, and depreciation and amortization charges.

The fall change into partially offset by a decrease of $2.62 billion in earnings taxes, the firm said.

Aramco said this would likely retain its location as of the arena’s splendid low producer and would proceed to develop its gasoline output and withhold its sturdy monetary location.

“Our financials are sturdy and we are going to have the flexibility to proceed to speculate for future growth,” CEO Nasser said.

PLANNED IPO

Aramco’s planned IPO is the centerpiece of Saudi Arabia’s financial transformation pressure to attract international investment and diversify a ways from oil.

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Work on the IPO change into halted in 2018 when Aramco shifted its consideration to the acquisition of a 70% stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Traditional Industries Corp (2010.SE).

Aramco furthermore paid a dividend of $46.4 billion to the manager including a obvious dividend of $20 billion, up from $32 billion a year earlier.

This reflects Saudi Arabia’s heavy dependence on the oil firm to finance the kingdom’s price range needs as smartly because the lavish existence of its royal family.

Extra reporting by Alexandra Ulmer in Mumbai, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Davide Barbuscia in Dubai; editing by Jason Neely, David Evans and Keith Weir