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Petrobras reports US$10 billion quarterly loss

Published:Wednesday | March 23, 2016 | 3:00 AM
In this September 22, 2010 file photo, workers stand by the construction of Petrobras oil platforms in the BrasFels shipyard in Angra dos Reis, Brazil. Brazil’s state-run oil company reported on Monday, March 21, 2016 a record quarterly loss due to a large reduction in some of its assets amid lower oil prices.

Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobras, reported a record quarterly loss of US$10.2 billion Monday due to a large reduction in the value of some assets amid lower oil prices.

Petrobras has been at the centre of a sprawling corruption scandal that has ensnared some of Brazil's most powerful lawmakers and business executives.

The embattled company said it lost 36.9 billion reais, or US$10.2 billion, in the fourth quarter. That brought its full-year 2015 result to a US$9.6 billion loss.

Net sales, or total sales minus sales taxes, was US$23.5 billion for the quarter. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation totalled US$4.7 billion.

Once the crown jewel of Brazil's government, Petrobras' image quickly lost its lustre amid mismanagement and corruption.

The discovery of huge offshore oil reserves in 2007 had been supposed to vault Brazil into the top tier of oil and gas-producing nations. Then President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hailed the discoveries as an economic salvation for Brazil's millions of poor.

But the investigation into widespread bribery at Brazil's biggest company has eroded Brazilians' trust in the political and business elite.

Police questioned Silva earlier this month as part of the investigation. The once highly popular former president has said he committed no wrongdoing and suggests the probes are part of a political smear campaign.

The Petrobras scandal has also badly hurt President Dilma Rousseff, Silva's hand-chosen successor who led the Petrobras board for several years as the alleged bribery scheme played out.

A poll by the respected Datafolha agency published Sunday said 68 per cent of people surveyed want to see lawmakers vote to impeach Rousseff. That was up 8 percentage points since February, with the jump highest among the rich.

Brazil also is mired in its worst recession in decades, and it is ground zero for the Zika virus outbreak that has spread across the Americas as Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the Olympics in August.

- AP