Malaysia's Petronas reports lower profit again

PHOTO: Malaysia's Petronas reports lower profit again

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian state energy firm Petronas said Thursday its net profit dropped for the second straight quarter as the country's only Fortune 500 company continued to suffer from lower oil prices.

Petronas, which contributes nearly half of Malaysia's budget revenues, said earnings fell 21.6 per cent for the third quarter ending September 30, to 14.4 billion ringgit (US$4.7 billion, S$5.7 billion) due to sagging prices and lower crude output.

In September it had reported a 30 per cent fall in second-quarter profit.

"Sluggish global economic growth and geopolitical uncertainties remain as key risks to the oil and gas industry," the company said in its latest financial report.

It also reiterated an earlier warning on full-year earnings, saying "results for the year are expected to be lower than last year".

In the third quarter, revenue declined to 68.3 billion ringgit, compared to 71.8 billion ringgit the previous year.

Petronas blamed that on weakening oil prices due to the troubles in major economies such as the US and Europe.

Petronas also said "geopolitical challenges" had reduced sales volumes, citing South Sudan, where it has operations.

The government of South Sudan halted production earlier this year in a bitter oil-royalty dispute with Sudan, from which the south seceded in 2011.

Petronas's nine-month year-to-date net profit was down 4.7 per cent to 50.34 billion ringgit, it said.

Profit had risen more than 62 per cent in the first quarter thanks to then-strong crude oil prices, but has fallen since along with prices.