BP starts to motor again as profits overtake the forecasts

 

BP chief executive Bob Dudley today offered some evidence that his turnaround of the beleaguered oil giant is heading the right way.

The company turned in profit of £2.7 billion in the first quarter, more than £600 million better than City analysts had pencilled in.

The dividend — a matter of some import for Britain’s pension funds — is held at nine cents. It was stopped altogether for three quarters in 2010 in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, and has yet to return to the 14 cents dished out before then.

Analysts point out that it is a smaller company than it used to be, given divestments, so the yield on the stock is roughly what it was. The shares today gained 17p to 473p.

BP’s better-than-expected performance was helped by two new oilfields and a strong performance from its trading division.

The completion of a $24 billion  post-spill divestment programme along with the revamp of its Russian activities has helped pay for an  $5 billion share buyback.

Société Générale analyst Irene Himona said of the profit: “It’s a very good number. They beat consensus materially.”

Said Dudley: “These results represent a strong start to 2013 across all of our businesses.”

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