State-owned oil and gas firm PT Pertamina expects its net profit to drop by 18 percent to Rp 17 trillion (US$1.8 billion) next year on the back of the lower margin it will receive from the distribution of state subsidized fuels.
Frederick Siahaan, Pertamina finance director, said Monday that the government's recent decision to cut the margin meant that Pertamina will make a smaller profit compared with this year's, which it is estimated will come in at Rp 20.6 trillion.
Frederick was speaking to reporters after a meeting with the House of Representatives' budget commission to discuss, among other things, the company's current financial position.
Recently, the government and House decided that starting next year, Pertamina's margin for distributing subsidized fuels will be cut to 13.5 percent from 14.1 percent in an effort to help rein in the state's fuel subsidy spending.
Indonesia's oil and gas downstream regulator (BPH Migas) has ruled that the price for subsidized fuels will be determined based on the average prices traded in the regional benchmark Singapore market (MOPS), plus the margin, which must be paid by the government.
The margin is used mostly to cover import and transportation costs, as well as tax expenses.
The government aims to gradually reduce its fuel subsidy spending. Next year, fuel subsidy spending has been earmarked at Rp 46.7 trillion, down from Rp 56.4 trillion this year.
The country burns about 35 kiloliters of subsidized fuels every year.
Another reduction in revenue will result from the sale of its fuels to state electricity firm PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). This is due to the fact that Pertamina -- also based on a decision of the government and House, is now obliged to sell fuels to PLN at a margin of 5 percent above the average MOPS price, compared with 9.5 percent previously.
PLN buys approximately 9 million kiloliters of fuels every year from Pertamina.
With the lower selling margin to PLN having taken effect in September, the move has already eroded Pertamina's net profit estimate for this year, which, according to Frederick, would have amounted to Rp 23 trillion, instead of the current Rp 20.6 trillion estimate.
Meanwhile, Ari Sumarno, Pertamina president director, said that the company would pay Rp 9 trillion, or between 40 and 45 percent of this year's profit, as a dividend to the government, its main shareholder.
With a lower profit expected next year, Pertamina will likely be able to pay a dividend of Rp 7 trillion, Ari added.
In another development, Frederick said that Pertamina had secured a preliminary loan commitment from French bank BNP Paribas to help finance the development of its new field in Pondok Tengah, West Java.
The bank, according to Frederick, has agreed to take a leading role in a consortium to be formed in the near future, which will then provide up to $250 million in loans at a 5.8 percent interest rate with a seven-year tenure.
Pertamina is aiming to increase the production of the Pondok Tengah field to 12,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of the year, from the current level of 4,000 bpd.