File picture: King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Image Credit: AFP

Doha/Dubai: Several of Saudi Arabia’s largest companies announced on Monday they would pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses after the new king ordered that Saudi state employees should receive two months of extra salary.

Saudi Electricity Co will distribute 545 million riyals (Dh532 million) among its Saudi employees, it said in a bourse statement. The government owns 81 per cent of the Gulf’s largest utility, according to Reuters data.

Saudi Telecom Co (STC), 70 per cent state-owned, will pay an extra 395 million riyals to its Saudi employees, it said in a similar filing, adding that the payout would be recorded in its first-quarter earnings.

Two months bonus

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud ordered the immediate payment of two months of bonus salary to all state employees and pension to retired government workers, marking his accession to power after the death of his brother King Abdullah.

“The Saudi Electricity Company has decided to grant two months’ salary for all key Saudi staff and trainees,” the company said in a statement to the kingdom’s stock exchange, adding that the bonus paid to each staff member would not exceed 50,000 riyals.

Southern Province Cement, which is majority-owned by state funds, said it would pay two months’ salary to Saudi employees and half a month’s pay to non-Saudis.

King Salman’s announcement did not give a monetary figure, but analysts said the payout to state employees could be worth some 70 billion riyals, while additional handouts to pensioners, students and others could make total spending much larger.