Saudi Paper Retracts Aramco 49% Stake Sale Plan Story

The Riyadh-based newspaper al-Eqtisadiah retracted a story saying Saudi Arabia is planning to sell almost half of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest oil company known as Aramco.

The stake that the government plans to sell and the time frame of the sale are different than what was mentioned in the story published on Saturday, al-Eqtisadiah said in a statement published Sunday. The story, which cited an unidentified government official, contained a number of other errors, the newspaper said.

“Al-Eqtisadiah apologizes to its readers, and wishes that all media outlets that cited the story to publish this apology and clarification,” the newspaper said. It will start an investigation into how the mistaken information was published, the newspaper said.

The newspaper had reported that the government would sell close to half of the state-owned enterprise during the next 10 years. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in April that an initial public offering is planned for 2018, or even a year earlier, with the country planning to sell less than 5 percent.

Aramco’s privatization is part of the Saudi Vision 2030, not the National Transformation Program 2020, the newspaper said.

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