State oil giant Saudi Aramco’s profit plunged 73% in the second quarter of the year, as a slump in energy demand and prices due to the coronavirus crisis hit sales at the world’s biggest oil exporter.
But the company stuck with plans to pay $75 billion in dividends this year and CEO Amin Nasser said global oil demand was recovering.
All major oil companies have taken a hit in the second quarter as lockdowns to contain the coronavirus limited travel, which reduced oil consumption and sent prices tumbling to levels not seen in nearly two decades.
Aramco, which listed in Riyadh last year in a record $29.4 billion flotation, said the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally had significantly reduced demand for crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products.
Nasser told reporters he had seen a partial recovery in the energy market and a pick up in demand as economies gradually open after the easing of coronavirus lockdowns.
Aramco reported a 73.4% fall in second-quarter net profit, a steeper drop than analysts had forecast, and said it expected capital expenditure for 2020 to be at the lower end of a $25 billion to $30 billion range.
Net profit fell to 24.6 billion riyals ($6.57 billion) for the quarter to June 30 from 92.6 billion riyals a year earlier.
Analysts had expected net profit of 31.3 billion riyals, according to the mean estimate from three analysts, provided by Refinitiv.