Saudi Aramco earnings fall 25% due to COVID-19 pandemic

Saudi Aramco’s profit fell 25 per cent in the first quarter of the year as a result of a drop in oil prices and a plunge in global demand as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, the company reported Tuesday.

Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive, said: “The Covid-19 crisis is unlike anything the world has experienced in recent history.”  He also added the impact of the pandemic on global energy demand and oil prices will weigh on earnings, Financial Times reported.

Last month, the world’s largest oil-production company entered a decisive stage in its endeavor to obtain $10 billion in loans from a number of banks after oil prices crashed.

Yesterday, Reuters reported that Aramco is also reviewing its deal to acquire a controlling stake in petrochemicals maker SABIC after a more than 40 per cent drop in its value following the oil price crash.

The kingdom, which relies heavily on oil revenues, has been hit hard by the slump in oil prices, with the government announcing austerity measures yesterday including plans to triple Vat in July and cut bonuses and benefits to its citizens next month.

Since King Salman took to the throne in 2015, foreign reserves fell from $732 billion to $499 billion in December last year, according to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

As oil prices plummet, Saudi Aramco pursued $10bn loan

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil-production company, entered late April a decisive stage in its endeavor to obtain a $10 billion loan from a number of banks.

Aramco chose HSBC and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) to coordinate between the company and other banks, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources.

The loan will help finance the acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in the Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a deal worth $70 billion, Reuters added.

“Aramco did not comment on the choice of banks, but said it continued to review its financial options ‘as part of its normal course of business, while prudently preserving its pristine balance sheet and its resilience’.”