- Q3 profit down on lower prices, volumes, but beats estimates
- Paid out $9.6 bln less in royalties, taxes
- Declared base dividend of $19.5 bln for Q3
- Approves plan for second $9.9 bln performance-linked dividend
DUBAI, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) on Tuesday reported a 23% fall in third-quarter net profit, marginally beating analyst estimates, on lower crude oil prices and volumes sold.
Net profit fell to $32.6 billion for the quarter to Sept. 30 from $42.4 billion a year earlier.
That topped the $31.8 billion expected by 12 analysts in a company-provided forecast.
The Saudi oil producer said lower oil prices and volumes were partially offset by a reduction in production royalties.
The group's shares were flat at 33.45 riyals at 0733 GMT. They have gained about 15% this year.
Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the OPEC group of oil-producing nations, said on Sunday it would continue with its voluntary oil output cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the year and that it would review the decision again next month.
Aramco's revenue fell to $113.09 billion in the quarter from $144.99 billion a year earlier.
It paid out $14.7 billion in royalties and other taxes, down from $24.3 billion a year earlier, the company said.
Aramco declared a base dividend of $19.5 billion for the quarter.
It also approved a second distribution of performance-linked dividends with a $9.87 billion payout in the fourth quarter, unchanged from its first performance-linked payout.
The second one is based on Aramco's results in 2022 and the first nine months of 2023. Subsequent distributions are expected to be adjusted to reflect results from the remainder of 2023, the company said.
Capital expenditure in the quarter rose to $11 billion from $9 billion a year earlier.
"Energy demand is likely to increase over the mid- to long-term," the firm said, adding Aramco was "investing in its growing, integrated portfolio through the largest capital program in its history."
Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Yousef Saba; editing by Miral Fahmy and Jason Neely
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Yousef covers Middle East energy out of Dubai, paying close attention to Gulf state oil giants, their roles in the ambitious region's transformational plans and the shift to green energy. He previously covered Gulf financial and economic news, with a focus on the fast-growing capital markets there. He joined Reuters in 2018 in Cairo, where he covered Egypt and Sudan, including its uprising. He previously had stints at a local paper in Cairo and in D.C. as an intern at Politico during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Contact: +971562166204