Thursday, 23 November 2017

Petronas Q1 profit after tax surges 124% to RM10.3b on higher prices

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) chalked up a solid performance in the first quarter ended March 31, 2017 with profit after tax surging 124% to RM10.3bil from RM4.6bil a year ago due to higher oil prices and improved margins from upstream and downstream businesses.

The national oil corporation said on Friday its revenue increased by 25% to RM61.6bil from RM49.1 bil a year ago.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose by RM9bil or 58% to RM24.6bil from RM15.6bil a year ago.

During the first quarter, average dated Brent stood at US$53.78 per barrel compared with US$49.46 a barrel in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“The group’s cash flows from operations also grew by 86% cent compared to the corresponding quarter last year to RM18bil, as a result of higher average realised prices,” Petronas said in the statement.

On its outlook, Petronas said the group would continue to maintain a conservative outlook for the remainder of 2017 despite the positive results as supply and demand balances were still slow to return to a sustained equilibrium.

“Petronas will focus on its group-wide efforts to optimise costs, further improve efficiency and operational excellence through strategic collaborations within the industry,” it said.

Petronas president and CEO Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said the strong performance in Q1 FY17 was driven largely by its transformation initiatives which continued to gain traction.

“This has strengthened internal collaborations across our upstream and downstream businesses, resulting in improved plant utilisation rates, production and the overall creation of substantial value.

“We will continue to focus on driving our upstream and downstream businesses to maximize returns in unlocking value as a fully integrated oil and gas company,” he said.

Meanwhile, internal efforts to reduce cost and improve efficiency continued to allow Petronas to reduce controllable operating expenditure (opex) to RM11.1bil from RM11.4bil.

Its total assets decreased to RM602.1bil as at March 31, 2017 from RM603.3bil recorded as at Dec 31, 2016 as a result of a stronger ringgit against the US dollar. Shareholders’ equity increased to RM386.9bil in the first quarter from RM380.3bil in the preceding quarter, contributed by profit generated during the period.

Gearing ratio decreased to 17.1% as at March 31 compared to 17.4% as at Dec 31, 2016, as it was  impacted by higher equity following profit generated during the period. Its return on average capital employed increased to 6.6% compared to 5.3% recorded Dec 31, 2016 in line with the group’s higher profits.

Petronas said capital investments in the first quarter of 2017 totaled RM11.9bil, mainly attributable to the refinery and petrochemical integrated development (RAPID) project in Johor.

In its upstream segment, total production volume for the quarter was 2.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day compared to 2.5 million boe per day in the corresponding quarter last year mainly due to lower production in Iraq, lower demand in Turkmenistan and declining production in JDA and Egypt.

For the first quarter of 2017, Petronas said downstream business has sustained its performance demonstrated in 2016.

“Better performance was attributable to solid plant operations, particularly in petrochemicals, and overall improvements of average realised prices for crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical products,” it added.

Petroleum products and crude oil sales volume were recorded at 63 million barrels and 35 million barrels respectively.

“Downstream projects continued to progress well with the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) project achieving 63% completion at March 31 while the Sabah Ammonia Urea (SAMUR) plant has reached full design capacity.

“At the same time, the commissioning process of the Integrated Aroma Ingredients Complex is progressing well to meet the range of 2017 start-up schedule while highly reactive polyisobutene is expected to be commissioned in Q4 2017 as planned,” Petronas said.