Saudi Aramco profit falls 25 percent
Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil exporting company, on Tuesday reported a 25 percent fall in first-quarter net profit, missing analyst estimates, but its quarterly dividend was in line with a plan for a $75 billion payout for the year.
Analysts had expected Aramco, which went public last year, to maintain payouts to minority shareholders while cutting the dividend to the Saudi government, whose finances have been battered by plunging oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
OIL PRICES SLUMPED TO NEARLY TWO-DECADE LOWS IN MARCH
Shares of Aramco were up 1.3% at 31.30 riyals at 0825 GMT, still trading below the IPO price of 32 riyals. Aramco’s net profit fell to 62.48 billion riyals ($16.64 billion) after zakat and tax for the quarter to March 31 from 83.29 billion riyals a year earlier, below estimates by analysts who expected a profit of $17.8 billion.
Aramco said total dividends of $13.4 billion were paid for the fourth quarter of 2019 and that it would distribute a dividend of $18.75 billion for the first quarter of this year. This is in line with its plan to pay a base dividend of $75 billion for 2020.
Aramco said earlier on Tuesday that its planned acquisition of a 70% equity stake in Saudi petrochemical maker SABIC is on track to close in the second quarter. Sources told Reuters this week that the $70 billion deal was likely to be restructured.