Brazil’s Petrobras has posted a net profit of 46 billion reais ($9 billion), down from the previous quarter but up 48% on the same period of last year.

The state-controlled company has endured turbulent weeks on the stock markets due to uncertainty about its future management policy following the election of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for a fourth term of office in Brazil.

Stock market volatility has reflected uncertainty about possible government interference in fuel pricing or changes in management policy.

Defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has attacked several Petrobras bosses over fuel prices, but has stopped short of intervening in policy. Bolsonaro has also allowed Petrobras to continue selling off non-core assets to focus on the most productive oil and gas fields and has not interfered in investment policy.

Petrobras said it will distribute about 44 billion reais ($8.5 billion) in dividends, prompting some criticism in Brazil that rewarding shareholders on this scale will undermine investment capacity.

Petrobras’ capital expenditure of $7 billion for the first nine months of 2022 is running 14% higher than in the same period of last year.

Adjusted quarterly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation rose 50.5% year on year to 91.4 billion reais.