State oil giant Saudi Aramco’s profit plunged 73 percent 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.
Aramco’s free cash flow stood at $6.1 billion in the second quarter and $21.1 billion for the first half of 2020, respectively, compared with $20.6 billion and $38.0 billion for the same periods in 2019.
Aramco’s gearing ratio was 20.1 percent at the end of June, mainly reflecting the deferred consideration for the acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries Corp and the consolidation of SABIC’s net debt on to Aramco’s balance sheet.