Fitch revises Saudi Aramco's outlook to stable from negative

The revision of the outlook on Saudi Aramco's IDR is driven by a similar action on the sovereign, the rating agency said

  
A helmet with logo of Saudi Aramco is pictured at the oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019. Image for illustrative purposes.

A helmet with logo of Saudi Aramco is pictured at the oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

JEDDAH — Fitch Ratings, one of the top global credit rating agencies, has revised Saudi Arabian Oil Company's (Saudi Aramco) outlook to stable from negative while affirming the company's long-term issuer default rating (IDR) at 'A'.

In a new report published on Tuesday, the rating agency said that the revision of the outlook on Saudi Aramco's IDR is driven by a similar action on the sovereign early this month, while it assessed the oil giant's standalone credit Profile (SCP) at 'aa+'.

According to the report, Fitch based its forecast on four key assumptions which are the following:

- Brent crude oil prices: $63/per barrel in 2021, $55/per barrel in 2022 and $53/per barrel in 2023-2024

- Upstream production recovering to around 13 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2022

- Annual dividend pay-out of $75 billion until 2024

- Capital expenditures (Capex) at $35 billion-$37.5 billion per annum in 2021-2024

The report says that Saudi Aramco's business profile is very strong. Its lifting costs ($3/boe in 2020) and upstream Capex ($4/boe) are much lower than those of international integrated majors and some national oil companies a significant advantage in times of volatile oil prices. The business profile also benefits from a very large scale of production and long proved reserve life in excess of 50 years.

Earlier in the day, the rating agency revised six Saudi banks’ credit outlooks to stable from negative and affirmed their international ratings at BBB+.

The banks are Arab National Bank (ANB), Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF), Alinma bank (Alinma), Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB), Bank Aljazira (BAJ) and Gulf International Bank - Saudi Arabia (GIB SA).

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