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KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (Reuters) - Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd said on Tuesday it swung to a fourth-quarter profit from a loss in the year-ago period, helped by cost-cutting efforts, but the state oil company maintained a cautious outlook for 2017.
Petronas, as the company is known, posted a profit after tax of 11.3 billion ringgit ($2.54 billion) for the October-December period, compared with a 2.96 billion ringgit net loss for the same quarter last year primarily due to a drop in operating expenses and impairment costs.
Revenue for the quarter stood at 58.6 billion ringgit, down from 60.1 billion ringgit for the corresponding quarter a year ago, due to lower oil prices and sales volumes.
For the full year, the state oil company reported a net profit after tax of 23.5 billion ringgit, higher from 20.9 billion ringgit in 2015, also helped by the decline in costs.
"The group continues to maintain a conservative outlook for 2017 and expects prices to remain uncertain. Petronas will continue to focus on its group-wide efforts to reduce costs and further improve efficiency," the company said in a statement.
Malaysia relies on its only Fortune 500 company for nearly a third of its oil and gas-related revenue. Petronas is one of the country's largest employers with a workforce of over 50,000.
$1 = 4.4460 ringgit Reporting by Emily Chow; Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Tom Hogue