Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state-run oil company, on Sunday reported full-year figures for only the second time since going public – and already the results are not looking great. The company has been struggling after the coronavirus outbreak first decreased global oil demand and subsequently led to a falling out within OPEC, causing a price war between the kingdom and Russia at the mid-year point.
As a result, oil prices were in a downwards spiral for most of 2020, resulting in a net income of only $49 billion for the company. In preparation for its IPO, which took place in December 2019, Saudi Aramco had published 2018 profits, putting net income as high as $111.1 billion annually. In 2019, it had still turned a profit of $88.2 billion, according to company filings. With vaccination campaigns progressing well in parts of the world in 2021, oil prices have been looking up, however, as economic activity and mobility have resumed in some places.
While Saudi Aramco was still the most profitable publicly listed company in the world in 2019, the current result puts the company behind Apple in 2020. Major Chinese banks - also among the world's most profitable companies - have yet to report full year results.