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Malaysia's Petronas cuts state dividend as profit plunges on oil drop

* Petronas Q3 net profit drops 91 pct

* Revenue for quarter falls 25 pct

* To pay nearly 40 pct less dividend to govt next year

(Adds more comments of CEO from briefing and details of


By Emily Chow

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Malaysia's Petroliam

Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is slashing its 2016 dividend

to the government by nearly 40 percent, after its quarterly

profit fell 91 percent on weak global crude oil prices.

The state-owned oil and gas firm, which brings in nearly

half of Malaysia's oil revenue, is being forced to shrink its

contributions, compounding woes of the Southeast Asian country

that is struggling amid a depreciating currency and political

uncertainty caused by heavily indebted state investor 1Malaysia

Development Berhad (1MDB).

Petronas said on Wednesday it will pay 16 billion ringgit in

dividend to the government next year, down from 26 billion in

2015. Its net profit for July-September tumbled to 1.4 billion

ringgit ($321.10 million) from 15.1 billion in the same period a

year earlier.

"Our commitment on dividends is based on our performance for

this year," President and Group Chief Executive Wan Zulkiflee

Wan Ariffin told reporters at an earnings briefing. The company

cut its proposed 2015 dividend in May.

Earnings were dragged down by impairment losses on property,

plant and equipment to the tune of nearly 6 billion ringgit and

net losses on foreign exchange and derivatives of almost 4.5

billion, a company statement showed.

Revenue for the quarter fell by 25 percent to 60.1 billion

ringgit from 80.4 billion a year ago.

Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in his 2016 budget

report that dividend payout sums from Petronas would depend on

global oil prices, and estimated Malaysia's oil related revenue

at 31.7 billion ringgit in 2016 compared with 44 billion this


Global oil prices have more than halved since

mid-2014 on a supply glut and are currently hovering around

$48 per barrel. The CEO said Petronas would assume Brent crude

will trade at $48 as their projection for next year's budget.


Unlisted Petronas has reported falling net profits for four

out of the last five quarters and a loss in the remaining period

as global oil prices have slid.

"We expect our quarter four performances to be similarly

affected," said Wan Zulkiflee, adding that the outlook into the

first half of 2016 "remains uncertain".

"Global economic growth remains modest at best, compounded

by the pending supply surge in the global oil market once

sanctions on Iran are lifted."

Petronas announced last quarter that its cash from

operations wasn't able to cover its capital expenses nor

committed dividends for 2015, forcing it to draw on reserves and

accelerate cost savings.

($1 = 4.3600 ringgit)

(Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Praveen Menon and

Muralikumar Anantharaman)