Exclusive: Goldman Sachs buys into Aramco $10 billion loan as it seeks IPO role - sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs GS.N has bought a slice of Saudi Aramco's IPO-ARMO.SE $10 billion credit facility as it seeks a role in the historic listing of the oil company, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Oil tanks seen at the Saudi Aramco headquarters during a media tour at Damam city November 11, 2007. REUTERS/ Ali Jarekji/File Photo

It is common practice in capital markets to first establish banking relationships through loan transactions which are then followed by other deals.

Goldman purchased a portion of the $10 billion revolving credit facility Aramco signed with a number of banks in 2015. Two of the sources said Goldman purchased several million dollars in the secondary market from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ.AX.

The bank was not part of the original list of 27 banks on the credit facility, which included other American, European, Asian and regional banks including Citigroup, JPMorgan, HSBC and Bank of China.

Aramco plans to raise $100 billion through the listing of five percent of the company in Saudi Arabia and one or more overseas location.

Goldman and ANZ declined to comment, while Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and HSBC have been hired as international financial advisers for Aramco’s initial public offering, Reuters reported in March.

Two of the sources said Goldman was expected to join the trio as a global coordinator and bookrunner for the facility when those positions are finalised.

The bank is moving to enlarge its presence in the kingdom. It recently applied to Saudi Arabia’s capital markets regulator for a license to trade equities in the kingdom, Reuters reported in June.

The sources said Goldman had been “shopping around” among other banks on the facility to ask if they wanted to exit the loan.

One of the sources described the pricing on the facility as “very fine” and difficult for some lenders to make money from, but adding that it was still attractive to those banks looking to build a strong relationship with Aramco.

The margin for the dollar loan was 12 and 10 basis points for the five-year and 364-day facilities respectively, according to the 2015 statement on the transaction.

It is not the first time that banks have positioned themselves on one deal in Saudi Arabia in the hope of winning a role on a related transaction at a later date. The banks involved in Saudi Arabia’s debut $17.5 billion international bond last year, had a role in the earlier $10 billion syndicated loan.

In another sign of Goldman’s growing footprint in Saudi Arabia, it was hired to manage the sale of a stake in Riyadh airport, the first major privatization of an airport in the kingdom, three sources told Reuters last month.

Editing by David Evans