Saudi Aramco to Buy $2 Billion Stake in S-Oil, Official Says

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, will buy a $2 billion stake in S-Oil Corp. (010950), South Korea’s third-largest oil refiner.

The state-owned producer, known as Saudi Aramco, will buy almost all of Hanjin Energy Co.’s stake in S-Oil, according to an S-Oil official who asked not to be identified because of internal policy. The purchase was earlier reported by the Maeil Business Newspaper, which cited S-Oil Chief Executive Officer Nasser Al-Mahasher saying Aramco will buy Hanjin’s entire stake.

Dhahran-based Aramco, the South Korean refiner’s largest shareholder, currently owns 35 percent of S-Oil, followed by Hanjin’s 28.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

An e-mail to Aramco outside of normal business hours wasn’t immediately responded to.

Korean Air Lines Co. (003490), South Korea’s biggest carrier, said on Dec. 19 that it planned to sell 30 million shares of S-Oil as part of a plan to raise 3.5 trillion won ($3.2 billion) through asset sales to cut debt.

Hanjin Energy bought its stake in S-Oil for 2.4 trillion won in 2007. Korean Air owns 96.6 percent of Hanjin Energy.

S-Oil was up 6.7 percent at 72,200 won as of 10:30 a.m. in Seoul trading after earlier surging as much as 8.3 percent, the most since December 2011, to 73,300 won. The benchmark Kospi Index gained 0.5 percent. Korean Air advanced as much as 4.4 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heesu Lee in Seoul at hlee425@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stuart Biggs at sbiggs3@bloomberg.net

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