On Thursday, after Petrobras announced a profit of R$ 44.5 billion in the first quarter, President Jair Bolsonaro went public to complain about the number, which he considered a “rape” or a “crime”. But, as the federal government is the company’s largest shareholder, perhaps it would be more correct to celebrate, since the better the company’s performance, the more money enters the public coffers.
Between January 2019 (beginning of the Bolsonaro government) and March this year, Petrobras has already injected R$447 billion into the federal coffers, taking into account, in addition to dividends, taxes and royalties paid. The figures appear in the company’s tax reports. In this period, net income was R$ 200 billion. If the account considers the billing (R$ 1.16 trillion), the amount transferred corresponds to 38.5% of the total.
Considering what the company pays to states and municipalities, the amount that enters the public coffers reaches R$ 675 billion. To get an idea of what this means, the amount paid to the Union alone corresponds to approximately five times the Auxílio Brasil budget planned for this year, around R$ 89 billion. The money also comes close to the disbursement made by the government in 2020 with expenses related to covid-19, of R$ 524 billion.
The interim executive director of the Independent Fiscal Institution (IFI), Daniel Couri, says that, given the size of Petrobras’ contribution, its importance for the health of the country’s public accounts is very relevant. The rough calculation is that Petrobras alone accounts for between 1% and 2% of total federal revenue – it is by far the largest individual contributor.
“Probably, on its own, Petrobras is able to pay all health expenses in Brazil”, says the specialist. Couri also recalls that part of these resources coming from the state-owned company are not stamped money, that is, they already have a mandatory destination – on the contrary, they are free to use, something important for government accounts.
Profit is the highest among global oil companies
Petrobras was the oil company that recorded, in dollars, the highest net profit in the first quarter in the world. According to a survey carried out by the financial information company Economatica, Petrobras’ profit of US$ 9.405 billion was almost double the US$ 5.480 billion recorded by the American ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company by market value.
Rebutting the criticism that President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) made of the size of the state-owned company’s profit, still on Thursday night, Petrobras President José Mauro Coelho said yesterday that the surge in international oil prices had boosted results. of all the oil companies and that the profit of the Brazilian state-owned company is at the “same level” as that of the other companies.
Among the ten largest companies that have already released results, Petrobras’ profit was higher than that recorded by oil companies that earned more, such as Chevron, BP, PetroChina, CNOOC and Eni Spa – the Anglo-Dutch Shell has not yet released the balance sheet. The largest revenue in the world came from PetroChina, which earned US$ 122.929 billion in the first quarter. Even so, the Chinese company had a net profit of US$ 6.161 billion, according to data from Economatica.
All the major oil companies in the world saw their revenues jump compared to 2021. Most also experienced a surge in net income. This was the case with Exxon Mobil (up 100.7%), Chevron (up 354.5%), Conocophillips (up 486.5%), PetroChina (up 46%) and CNOOC (up 1,315.9%) . Even in this regard, Petrobras was the absolute highlight, with an increase of 4,492% compared to the first quarter of 2021.
The good result is a direct effect of the war in Ukraine, which made the price of a barrel of oil in the global market soar, to a level above US$ 110 a barrel.
Bolsonaro’s criticism of Petrobras’ profits did not dampen the market’s good mood with the company’s result on Friday – especially after the information that first-quarter dividends will be R$ 48.5 billion. “Overall, the results were very good, but the dividends stole the show”, points out a report from the Credit Suisse bank, sent to clients.
XP also highlighted dividends, but acknowledged that political noise has hurt the company’s stock performance. “Dividends are providing investors with a good total return on stocks, despite the political noise that keeps stock prices (and indices) pent up,” he said.
José Mauro Coelho yesterday the criticism made by the president and said that the company will keep its pricing policy linked to the variation of oil in the international market. “We cannot deviate from the practice of market prices”, said Coelho, in a meeting with bank analysts to detail Petrobras’ balance sheet in the first quarter, when it closed with a profit of R$ 44.5 billion.
According to him, the better the company’s result, the greater the volume of taxes that are collected for the Union, which benefits society. “The collection of R$ 70 billion in taxes in the first quarter promotes more jobs, allows states and municipalities to make investments,” he said.
During a press conference, Coelho spoke specifically about Bolsonaro’s criticism. According to the executive, Bolsonaro’s concern with fuel prices is “legitimate”, but there is “confusion” regarding the main “vectors” of the company’s financial result.
“There is no significant relationship between Petrobras’ results and the readjustment of fuel prices. To give you an idea, 80% of the gains in the period (the first quarter) came from oil exploration and production activities and only 20% from all other segments”, he said.
According to Coelho, Petrobras’ board is not “insensitive” to high fuel prices at service stations. So much so that the company “follows market prices”, but does not transfer the “immediate momentary volatility” to prices. However, at certain times, adjustments must be made to maintain the company’s financial health.
Coelho also stressed that the increase in oil prices is a global phenomenon, fueled by the war in Ukraine. Therefore, “the rise in fuel prices is happening all over the world and is a concern of all government leaders.”
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