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In December 2019, the Saudi royal family’s crown jewel made its much-awaited stock market debut in a record-setting public offering. Year one as a publicly traded stock provided plenty of drama: a pandemic-led oil crash; a deepening rift between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which pushed oil prices even lower; and OPEC production cuts. The still-massive $49 billion in profit that Saudi Aramco reported was roughly 45% lower than a year earlier. The company slashed operating costs in 2020 while its debt jumped, partly to maintain its sacred dividend. A rebound in oil prices has begun to boost Saudi Aramco’s performance: For the first quarter of 2021, the company reported net income of $21.7 billion, or a 30% gain over the same period for the previous year.
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