BIG OIL EQUALS big payouts. The covid-induced collapse in the price of crude, which wiped billions from supermajors’ profits, tested this regularity—but not to breaking point. ExxonMobil booked an annual net loss of $22bn but still paid $15bn to shareholders. On March 21st Saudi Aramco said it, too, would maintain its $75bn dividend, on which its kingdom’s budget depends. Never mind the 44% fall in earnings.■
This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Saudi Aramco’s profits decline—but not the dividend”
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