May 16, 2020
Saudi wealth fund builds stakes in Canadian Natural, Suncor
Eric Nuttall discusses Suncor
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund built stakes in two major Canadian oil sands players during the energy market rout.
The Public Investment Fund amassed shares in Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc., with a 2.6 per cent and two per cent stake in the companies, respectively. PIF is now the eighth largest shareholder in Canadian Natural and 14th largest in Suncor, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The fund also bought stakes in Equinor ASA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Eni SpA, according to a Bloomberg report earlier in April. Saudi Arabia’s $320 billion sovereign wealth fund is run by Yasir Al-Rumayyan and controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Saudi purchase is disclosed at a time when Norway’s wealth fund is dumping oil-sands companies. The latter said this week it will exclude Canadian Natural, Cenovus Energy Inc., Suncor, and Imperial Oil Ltd. over concerns about carbon emissions.
Canadian oil producers have announced that almost 700,000 barrels per day of oil production is offline amid low prices and weak demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shares of Canadian Natural have lost 43 per cent this year, while Suncor is down 46 per cent versus a 15 per cent drop for the S&P/TSX Composite Index.
Suncor elected to slash its quarterly dividend 55 per cent earlier this month, while Canadian Natural maintained its current payout.