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Chopping up Saudi Aramco

Selling part of the state-owned firm will be just the start of a broad divestment project that turns the firm into a huge holding company

KHALID al-Hussan, chief executive of Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange, could scarcely hide his excitement. “This is a moment of history for all,” he said from the podium of a conference in Riyadh in May. “We used to laugh and wonder out loud whether Aramco would ever be listed. Now we are realising this.” The plan to sell off part of the kingdom’s energy firm is one of the most eye-catching parts of Riyadh’s new policy direction, encapsulated in Saudi Vision 2030. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, explaining the strategy in a TV interview, said Aramco “is part of the key elements of this vision”. But it will be a very different Aramco from the one that Saudis know today. An evaluation of

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