RIYADH (AFP/APP): Saudi Aramco on Sunday posted an 82-percent jump in first quarter profits, buoyed by a global surge in oil prices that has made it the world’s most valuable company.
The announcement continued a string of recent positive economic news for Saudi Arabia, where a booming oil sector is fuelling the fastest growth rate in a decade.
Aramco’s net income of $39.5 billion was up from $21.7 billion compared with the same period in 2021, “primarily driven by higher crude oil prices and volumes sold, and improved downstream margins,” it said in a press release.
The latest financial results were published four days after Aramco dethroned Apple as the world’s most valuable company, with shares worth $2.42 trillion compared to Apple’s $2.37 trillion.
In March, Aramco reported a 124 percent net annual profit increase for 2021.
But the firm, the kingdom’s “crown jewel” and primary source of government revenue, has faced security challenges from the war which involves a Saudi-led military coalition against Yemen’s Huthi rebels who have repeatedly targeted the kingdom, including Aramco sites.
A two-month truce in the war has generally been holding since it started in April, but in 2019 Huthi-claimed aerial assaults on two Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia temporarily knocked out half of the kingdom’s crude production.
A March attack by the Huthis on facilities of the largely state-owned firm caused a “temporary” drop in production.
The net income for the first quarter was a record for Aramco since its initial public offering in 2019.
Also on Sunday, Aramco announced it was issuing 20 billion bonus shares to shareholders — one share for every 10 shares already owned.
A dividend of $18.8 billion will be paid in the second quarter, it said.
“Against the backdrop of increased volatility in global markets, we remain focused on helping meet the world’s demand for energy that is reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable,” Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser said.
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