Brazil's Petrobras to pay $6.9 billion in dividends

SAO PAULO, March 1 (Reuters) – Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) is set to pay a dividend of 2.745 reais per share, landing at a total of 35.8 billion reais ($6.91 billion), the firm said on Wednesday, even as it proposed a measure retain some profits as reserves.

The first dividend to be paid under new chief executive Jean Paul Prates is largely in line with the company’s shareholder remuneration policy.

However, the company’s board of directors approved a proposal to shareholders that 0.49 real per share of the dividend would be retained to create a statutory reserve within the company.

If the shareholders reject the proposal, the board recommended that the 0.49 real per share be paid on December 27.

In the previous two quarters, Petrobras distributed more to shareholders than any other Western oil producer.

Petrobras’ payouts, which have reached 215.8 billion reais ($41.67 billion) in all of 2022, have made the oil giant a cash cow for its investors, including the Brazilian government, which owns a controlling stake in the company.

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However, since leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won the election last October, members of his Workers Party have criticized the company’s policy of paying out large amounts, arguing for bigger investments instead.

A first installment of 1.37286685 reais per share dividend will be paid on May 19 and the remainder is scheduled to be paid on June 16, the company said in a statement.

Local media had earlier reported that the firm would pay out 37.8 billion reais ($7.30 billion).

The firm also reported on Wednesday a better-than-expected 38% surge in fourth-quarter profits, helped by higher oil prices over the period.

($1 = 5.1794 reais)

Reporting by Peter Frontini; Editing by Sarah Morland

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