Aramco to win unconditional EU clearance for US$69 bil Sabic deal

BRUSSELS: World No 1 oil producer Saudi Aramco is set to gain unconditional EU antitrust approval for its US$69 billion buy of a 70% stake in petrochemicals group Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Aramco announced the deal to acquire the controlling stake from sovereign investor Public Investment Fund (PIF) in March last year, a move key to its diversification into refining and petrochemicals.

Riyadh-headquartered Sabic, the world’s fourth-largest petrochemicals group, has operations in over 50 countries.

The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the case by Feb 27, declined to comment.

Competition watchdogs in India and a number of other countries have already given the green light without demanding concessions.

Aramco’s downstream expansion strategy tracks rivals such as Exxon Mobil, BP, Total and Shell, which have over the years transformed themselves from merely oil companies to energy companies with extensive upstream and downstream operations.