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Saudi Aramco Increases Dividend by Over Half, Boosting Government Revenue to a total of $29.4 Billion

by Rahil M
0 comment

Saudi Aramco’s decision to increase dividends follows a similar trend among oil producers.

Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, has announced a substantial increase in dividends to both investors and the Saudi Arabian government, despite a decline in profits due to lower oil prices. The total payout will amount to $29.4 billion, including a performance-linked portion, up from the previous year’s dividend of $18.8 billion. This move is expected to support the Saudi government’s budget, which has faced potential deficits this year.

Despite a more than one-third drop in profit to around $30 billion, primarily attributed to decreased oil prices, Saudi Aramco remains a vital source of funding for the Saudi government. This government funding is particularly crucial as the country aims to diversify its economy away from oil through large-scale projects and social benefit programs.

Saudi Aramco’s decision to increase dividends follows a similar trend among oil producers. Despite profit declines, these companies have chosen to boost shareholder payouts. This trend can be attributed to fluctuations in oil prices and geopolitical factors, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Aramco’s CEO, Amin Nasser, emphasized the company’s ability to achieve strong earnings in the face of global economic uncertainty and market volatility. Nasser highlighted the company’s low-cost production, reliable supply, and robust demand for its products as contributing factors to its performance.

The announcement of increased dividends has positively impacted Aramco’s stock, which saw a rise of up to 2.2% before settling at 32.5 riyals a share in Riyadh.

As a leader in the OPEC+ alliance, Saudi Arabia has advocated for output cuts to stabilize oil markets. Aramco’s oil production has decreased, supported by the kingdom’s unilateral reductions of 1 million barrels a day. The extension of these output cuts into September, and potentially beyond, has further contributed to rising oil prices.

The increased dividends from Aramco highlight Saudi Arabia’s need for capital to support Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious plans to diversify the economy. These plans encompass technology, tourism, and leisure sectors. The Saudi government, as the largest owner of Aramco, will directly benefit from these increased payouts.

Aramco’s efforts to attract investors include improving liquidity in its stock, which had been characterized as having relatively stable yet lower returns. The company’s move to introduce a performance-based dividend, coupled with its strong financial performance in 2022, has garnered investor interest.

With global demand projected to reach record levels this year, oil prices may continue to rise. Saudi Aramco’s CEO, Amin Nasser, anticipates demand of 103 to 104 million barrels a day by the end of the year. While sluggish growth in China has been blamed for lackluster oil performance, Nasser suggests that demand in the country is higher than anticipated.

Despite the increased dividend commitment, Aramco remains confident in pursuing its acquisition and expansion plans. The company’s ability to balance dividend payouts with strategic growth initiatives underscores its resilience in a complex energy landscape.

This move by Saudi Aramco to raise its payout to investors and the Saudi Arabian government reflects a strategy to bolster state finances that were facing a potential deficit. While profits have decreased due to lower oil prices, Aramco’s importance as a funding source for the government remains crucial.

With the ongoing developments in the oil industry, particularly in the Middle East, the dynamics of energy markets and geopolitical considerations will continue to shape the strategies of major players like Saudi Aramco. Investors, economists, and policymakers will be closely monitoring these developments to assess their potential impact on global economies and energy markets. As the energy landscape continues to evolve, the strategies employed by major oil producers and their interactions with global economic trends will play a pivotal role in shaping future trajectories.

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