Petronas profit jumps quarter-on-quarter on lower impairment costs

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) [PETR.UL] said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit after tax rose to 6.1 billion ringgit ($1.40 billion) from 1.6 billion in the second quarter.

A logo of a Petronas fuel station is seen against a darkening sky in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File photo

The jump was due to lower net impairment on assets and higher average prices for most products, although it was partially offset by lower sales volumes, it said in a statement.

Revenue for the quarter stood at 48.7 billion ringgit, a 1 percent gain from the preceding quarter.

“The current oil price environment continues to pose significant challenges to the industry and the outlook remains uncertain,” Petronas said.

The statement did not provide comparative figures to the corresponding quarter, but Petronas last year reported a third quarter net profit of 1.4 billion ringgit and revenue of 60.1 billion ringgit.

Petronas has seen a global slump in oil prices squeeze finances, which make up a third of Malaysia’s oil and gas revenue.

In August, Petronas labeled the industry outlook “gloomy” well into 2017, saying it expects to see volatility continue and that it will not rely on higher oil prices to ease the pressure.

Petronas announced at the start of the year that it would cut spending by up to 50 billion ringgit over the next four years in response to the oil price slump.

It said it has paid 12 billion ringgit in government dividends as at 30 September 2016. It had committed to pay 16 billion ringgit to the government this year.

Petronas will pay the government a dividend of 13 billion ringgit next year, the country’s second finance minister Johari Abdul Ghani said last month.

The company also said it lowered costs by 9 percent year-to-date to 30.7 billion ringgit from 33.9 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Louise Heavens