Petronas govt dividend in doubt after RM21 billion loss

Petronas chief Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz said there has been no pressure from the government. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Petronas, which reported a loss after tax of RM21 billion, said today any dividend payout to the government this year would depend on whether the company could afford it, in light of plunging crude oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The national oil company’s president and group chief executive Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz said the company’s year-end results would be the guidance to set the expectation.

He said there was no pressure from the government about the dividend, given the unprecedented challenges that oil and gas companies faced.

“The government did not compel us to pay a dividend so far…they are aware of our capex (capital expenditure) commitments, investments and our financial obligations,” he said. “This industry is volatile and like other oil and gas companies, the shareholders will tend not to see so much returns.

Tengku Muhammad Taufik said despite a volatile market condition and softer results during the period, Petronas is still cash flow positive at RM26.3 billion.

For the second quarter of 2020, the group recorded a loss after tax of RM21 billion compared to a net profit of RM14.7 billion last year, from lower revenue and higher net impairment losses on assets.

Petronas recorded a lower revenue of RM34.04 billion for the second quarter ended June 30 compared to RM59.12 billion last year because of falling prices and lower sales of petroleum products, gas and liquefied natural gas and processed gas.

For the first half of 2020, the national oil company experienced a loss after tax of RM16.5 billion for the period against a net profit of RM28.9 billion last year. Excluding impairment loss, the group would record a net profit of RM7.7 billion.

The national oil company also recorded a revenue of RM93.6 billion, a decline of 23%.