Brazil’s Petrobras reports record profit for 2022

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras has reported record profits of 188 billion reais (about US$36 billion or RM161 billion) in 2022, largely due to increases in fuel prices around the world.

Earnings, released late Wednesday (March 1), represent a record annual profit of 129.1 billion reais in 2021 for a Brazilian company previously held by mining giant Vale.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, Petrobras reported net income of 43.3 billion reais, down 6% sequentially.

On Wednesday, the company’s board of directors approved the payment of dividends of 2.74 reais per share, for a total of 35.8 billion reais.

CFO Rodrigo Araujo Alves said the gain was due to higher prices and “management actions taken in recent years”.

Petrobras came under pressure when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was in office from 2019 to 2022.

Bolsonaro changed the company’s CEO four times in as many years over disagreements over gas price hikes and even went so far as to accuse Petrobras of theft.

Brazil’s left-leaning President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva chose a key ally, former Senator Jean Paul Prates, to take office, but fuel prices remain at the heart of the new government’s concerns.

On Thursday, Prates held his first press conference as CEO and announced that the company’s pricing policy would no longer be tied only to the international market.

“There will be other references to get the best price for the consumer,” he said. “We will charge competitive prices for the national market.”

The change in pricing policy will not begin until May when a new board is installed.

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced the partial reinstatement of fuel taxes, which were scrapped under the Bolsonaro administration to fight inflation ahead of last year’s election, in which he was ousted by Lula.

To keep the price at the pump from skyrocketing, Petrobras announced it would cut prices at its refineries. – AFP Brazil’s Petrobras reports record profit for 2022

Andrew Schnitker

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