Saudi Aramco upholds dividend despite drop in first-quarter profits

Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

Saudi Aramco’s first-quarter net profit fell 14% year-on-year amid lower oil prices and production.

Net income for the three months up to March 31 came in at $27.3 billion, down from $31.9 billion for the same period last year, the company reported. The figure was in line with analyst expectations, according to Reuters.

Aramco announced its free cash flow for the quarter at $22.8 billion, down from $30.9 billion in the first quarter of 2023, and cash flow from operating activities at $33.6 billion compared to last year’s $39.6 billion.

Still, the Saudi state oil giant will be delivering a total $31 billion dividend to the Saudi government and other shareholders, comprised of a $20.3 billion base dividend and a “fourth performance-linked dividend distribution of $10.8 billion” which will be paid in the second quarter, the company’s earnings statement said.

Aramco, which is the world’s largest oil exporter, expects total dividends of $124.3 billion to be declared in 2024, it said.

The company has also invested significantly into downstream operations and gas discovery and production.

Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser was quoted as saying in the earnings release: “We also continue to execute our long-term strategy, and in the first quarter made significant progress on expanding our gas business and growing our globally-integrated downstream value chain, while maintaining our focus on consistently delivering value for our shareholders.”