Saudi Aramco’s First Quarter Net Profit Grows 30%

Oil giant Saudi Aramco has reported a 30% jump in net income as the company rebounds from last year’s oil market crash that saw its full-year earnings cut in half.

In a news release, the company said its net income rose to $21.7 billion U.S. in the first three months of the year, up from $16.6 billion U.S. in the same period of 2020. The results beat analysts’ estimate of $17.24 billion U.S. The latest earnings are comparable to the firm’s net income level in the first quarter of 2019, which was $22.2 billion U.S.

The company said free cash flow in the first quarter of 2021 was $18.3 billion U.S., up from $15 billion U.S. over the same period last year. Saudi Arabia’s oil giant also maintained its dividend, with $18.8 billion U.S. due to be paid out in both the first and second quarters.

The positive earnings results reflect an improving climate for oil markets since the first quarter of last year, when Aramco reported a 25% fall in net income as it grappled with the initial fallout of the pandemic and falling demand.

Saudi Aramco has been exploring ways to raise cash from asset sales, including the $12.4 billion U.S. sale of its pipeline unit that could possibly free up cash to pay down debt. In mid-April, the company penned a deal to sell a 49% stake in its pipelines to EIG Global Energy Partners, a U.S. consortium.

Saudi Aramco was the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) when it went public in December 2019 and listed around 1.5% of its shares on the Saudi Arabia stock exchange, the "Tadawul."