Saudi oil giant Aramco saw its net profit almost quadruple in the second quarter, in part thanks to the rebound in oil prices and demand in the face of easing health restrictions.
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The Saudi state-owned company, the world's largest crude exporter, said in a statement on Sunday that its net profit jumped 288% to $ 25.5 billion (about € 21.7 billion) from 6.6 billion dollars (5.6 billion euros) in the second quarter of 2020. A welcome recovery for the kingdom ultra-dependent on hydrocarbons.
Our second quarter results reflect a strong rebound in global energy demand and we are heading into a more resilient and flexible second half of 2021 as the global recovery accelerates,
” said Aramco CEO Amin Nasser .
The prices of the barrel are currently around 70 dollars against a little more than 40 last year, after several months marked by spectacular drops, between the health crisis and a price war which had opposed Riyadh to Moscow.
Cash cow of the kingdom, Aramco also announced that it had paid $ 18.8 billion in dividends to its shareholders in the second quarter, almost two years after its listing with great fanfare on the Riyadh Stock Exchange in December 2019. It plans to their pay the same amount in the next quarter.
This IPO, which brought in $ 29.4 billion to the kingdom thanks to the sale of 1.725% of its shares, is part of the kingdom's strategy to diversify its economy and finance major infrastructure projects.
Saudi Aramco announced in mid-June that it had raised $ 6 billion through the issuance of Islamic bonds denominated in dollars, to ensure the payment of large dividends promised to its shareholders during the IPO.
In April, the company announced the sale for $ 12.4 billion of a minority stake in a pipeline company to US firm EIG Global Energy Partners.
Profits collapse at the onset of the health crisis
Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequences of the health crisis on the demand and prices of crude, the company's net profit fell by 44.4% in 2020, to 49 billion dollars (41 billion d 'euros).
Last month, the Saudi Arabia-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (Opep +) extended an agreement to limit their production, with a slight hike expected from August, put in place to support the courses.
Earlier this year, the state-owned company reported a 30% jump in its first-quarter net profit to $ 21.7 billion, thanks to a rebound in prices amid easing health restrictions.
Vaccination against Covid-19 was also invited in the company's press release, which announced that it had set up its own campaign, complementary to the national program, and administered at least one dose to 95% of its employees and 70% of their relatives.
More than half of the kingdom's 34 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine by mid-July.
The assets of Aramco were until recent years under the exclusive control of the Saudi State, which released ballast under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The latter announced in January the intention of his country to sell more Aramco shares in the coming years, the money generated to be transferred to the Public Investment Fund, the main instrument of diversification.
He added at the end of April that Riyadh had started discussions with a foreign group in order to sell it 1% of Aramco's capital.
Interest from international investors is waning day by day with the pandemic and as Houthi rebels in Yemen continue to claim drone and missile attacks on Aramco facilities in the kingdom, some analysts say.
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The company, however, tried to reassure in its press release, claiming to have achieved "
100% reliability for its deliveries of crude and other products in the second quarter
." Cyber attacks also raise concerns. In July, Aramco confirmed that a “
” of its data
by third-party contractors.