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Jun 23, 2008

Petronas neither hiding nor squandering assets

malaysianinsider - [...]

There are two distinct themes here. The first, echoed by First Son-in-Law and Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin is that the oil corporation isn't transparent because it allegedly does not publish its annual accounts. In short, by being deliberately obtuse, Petronas could be playing fast and loose with the people's money.

The other alleges that the national oil company is making obscene profits at a time when the ordinary people are reeling from a 41 per cent hike in fuel prices.

Both themes are incorrect, although the first could have been true back in the 1980s when Petronas seemed very secretive. Not any more.

The national oil corporation is an international borrower, having raised money through both Yankee and Samurai bonds and international bondholders expect nothing less than complete transparency from issuers.

Petronas bonds have always been snapped up and generally held until maturity. Its accounts are also lodged with the Companies Commission and can even be downloaded from its website. As a former investment banker, Khairy should have checked before shooting from the hip.

There is no denying that Petronas is making record profits - which have risen to RM46.4 billion for the year ended March 31, 2007 from 2003's RM15 billion.

Out of that amount, however, it gave RM20 billion back to the government in dividends. It has over RM102 billion cash and investments and it will probably make net profits of over RM70 billion for 2008.... selanjutnya.


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