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Saudi Aramco in talks with banks for new bond sale - sources

DUBAI, June 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian oil group Aramco is in talks with banks for a U.S. dollar-denominated bond issue, two sources said, seeking to raise money ahead of large commitments for its major shareholder, the Saudi government.

Aramco was widely expected to become a regular bond issuer after its debut $12 billion bond deal in 2019 was followed by an $8 billion, five-part transaction in November last year.

Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The oil company last year maintained a $75 billion promised dividend despite lower oil prices, and is expected to shoulder significant domestic investments that form part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to transform the economy.

“I think it was expected. They need the cash to pay the dividends that have been promised, they’ve done it in the past too,” said a debt banker, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One of the sources said the deal could happen in the coming weeks. Qatar Petroleum is expected to issue bonds by the end of June that sources have said could go up to $10 billion in size.

“It could well be busy,” the source said.

Bloomberg, first to report on the bond deal earlier on Wednesday, said the debt sale would be through Islamic bonds, or sukuk, and cited an anonymous source saying Aramco could raise around $5 billion.

Reporting by Yousef Saba and Davide Barbuscia. Editing by Jane Merriman

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