KUALA LUMPUR: Petronas Dagangan Bhd (PetDag) slipped into the red in the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2020, recording a net loss of RM29.42 million compared with a net profit of RM291.20 million a year earlier.

Revenue also declined to RM6.55 billion compared with RM7.81 billion in the same period last year.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, PetDag attributed the RM1.25 billion drop in group revenue to a four per cent fall in overall sales volume in both the retail and commercial segments and three per cent drop in average selling prices.

The loss, it said, was due mainly to lower gross profit following a sharp decline in Means of Platts Singapore (MOPS) prices trend, lower sales volume towards the end of Q1 and higher operating expenses attributable to professional services costs and depreciation costs.

“The group experienced challenging market conditions towards the end of the first quarter arising from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic globally as well as the constraints of the local movement control order,” it said.

The board has declared an interim dividend of five sen per share amounting to RM49.67 million for Q1 2020, payable on June 17. This was down from an interim dividend of 15 sen per share in the same quarter last year, which translated into a pay-out of RM149.02 million.

On prospects, PetDag said the group’s results were impacted by the declining petroleum prices following the volatility of crude oil prices.

“Whilst average Brent in Q1 2020 was $50.26 per barrel compared to previous quarter’s $63.32 per barrel, the sharp decline in March 2020, which was driven by the rise of Covid-19 pandemic and Opec+ price war, has set the lowest month average price of $31.83 per barrel seen in the last five years,” it said.

It added that the group would continue to focus on inventory management, supply and distribution efficiency as well as operating expenditure optimisation to ensure the group remained resilient and sustainable to run its operation.

In a separate filing, PetDag announced that its 38th annual general meeting on June 10 would be held fully virtual and entirely via Remote Participation and Voting at https://tiih.online in its effort to curb Covid-19. The broadcast venue would be Meeting Room 4003, Level 40, Tower 1, Petronas Twin Towers — a change of venue from Exhibition Hall 1 of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre announced in March. – Bernama