Petrobras pays 2014 bonus despite record loss, canceled dividend
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO May 27 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, will pay employees 1.04 billion reais ($331 million) in bonuses for 2014 despite recording its largest-ever loss and rejecting investor dividends, a company union said on Wednesday.
The bonus, known as "a share in results", is a third bigger than in 2013, when the company recorded a profit, and was approved at an annual shareholders meeting on Monday, the union, known by its Portuguese initials FUP, said in a statement.
"The shareholders of Petrobras tried hard, but this time did not receive dividends," FUP said. "Disgusted, they even criticized the company for treating the workers differently."
Officials of Petrobras, as the company is known, did not respond to requests for comment or confirm the authenticity of a Petrobras letter dated Wednesday and addressed to FUP outlining the payments. The letter was published on FUP's website.
While Brazil's government owns a majority of voting common shares, non-government investors, primarily holders of preferred shares, own most Petrobras stock.
Petrobras recorded a 23.6 billion real ($7.5 billion) profit in 2013. In 2014 it had a 21.6 billion real loss, the result of a $17 billion write-down of assets as a result of a massive price-fixing, bribery and political-kickback scandal, poor planning and execution and a decline in oil prices.
The union accused investors of "crying for their dividends."
FUP, closely aligned with the Workers' Party of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, herself chairwoman of Petrobras from 2003 to 2010, applauded the company's 2014 performance, the only annual loss in at least two decades. Continuación...