Petrobras share price drops 5.5 per cent on news of net loss of £7bn in fourth quarter of 2015

Francesca Washtell
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Brazilian Presidential Candidates Dilma Rousseff And Aecio Neves Debate In Rio
Dilma Rousseff has been embroiled in the ongoing Petrobras corruption scandal (Source: Getty)

Brazil's state-controlled, scandal-ridden oil company Petrobras posted its biggest-ever quarterly loss on Monday.

The company, at the centre of a corruption scandal involving Brazilian lawmakers, booked a large writedown for oilfields and other major assets.

The figures

Petrobras posted a consolidated net loss of 36.9bn reais (£7.1bn) in the fourth quarter of 2015. This result pushed the company's full-year result into a loss, despite being positive through September.

This loss shocked analysts as, in a Reuters survey of analysts, 9.7bn reais (£1.9bn) was the largest estimated drop. This was a 48 per cent larger drop than the 26.6 billion real loss a year earlier.

The huge declines in crude oil prices over the past year drove Petrobras' loss in earnings. Of the 46.4bn (£8.8bn) reais written off in the quarter, 83 percent was for oil fields.

Sales minus sales taxes, totaled 85.1bn reais (£16.3bn) in the quarter and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were 17.1bn reais (£3.3bn).

The company, though, did manage to increase its cash position at the end of the period to 97.8bn reais (£18.7bn) from 44.2 billion reais (£8.6bn) by cutting investments.

Petrobras' shares fell 5.5 per cent in after-hours electronic trading in New York after the results were released, but they began to edge up by 1.35 per cent by 8am (GMT). ​

Petrobras Petrobras | mobile image

Why it's interesting

Petrobras has been embroiled in a corruption scandal that has overshadowed the leadership of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and led to calls for her impeachment.

She has previously refused to rule out bailing out the state-run oil firm, so news that the company's profits have destabilised could lead her to consider this further if profits take another nose-dive in the first quarter of 2016.

What Petrobras said

"Even if we hit a road-bump we have sufficient cash through 2017," chief executive, Almir Bendine, said. "This doesn't mean if we have good opportunities to raise cash or lengthen maturities we won't do it."

Bendine added that the company plans to sell about £9.7bn of assets this year if it runs into trouble. It will also not pay dividends to either its government or non-government investors and it plans to make no bonus payments to employees.

In short

While the Petrobras profit loss has been unprecedented in scale, it was still expected. Rousseff will need to decide where the government stands on a potential Petrobras bailout if profits continue to dip.

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