BP results beat forecasts as it hikes dividend

Suzie Neuwirth

OIL MAJOR BP rose to the top of the FTSE 100 yesterday, after third-quarter results beat expectations and a dividend hike pleased investors.

The firm posted underlying net profit of $3.692bn (£2.3bn), up from $2.712bn the previous quarter and higher than analysts’ consensus forecasts of $3.17bn.

BP is increasing its quarterly dividend by 5.6 per cent to 9.5 cents per share, payable in December.

“The strong operational progress we are now seeing across the group, combined with our focus on disciplined investment, also underpins our confidence in growing long-term sustainable free cash flow and being able to increase shareholder distributions,” said chief executive Bob Dudley.

The firm also announced plans to divest a further $10bn in assets by the end of 2015, the proceeds of which it will distribute to shareholders, mainly through share buy-backs.

BP has sold $38bn of assets over the past three years, as it battles rising costs and mammoth payouts for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Claims have spiralled from the disaster and it is still uncertain exactly how much BP will pay out in compensation.

The firm won a small victory after a US court temporarily suspended payments to claimants who do not have “actual injury traceable to loss” from the oil spill. However, it raised its overall costs from clean-up, fines and compensation for the spill to $42.5bn from $42.4bn due to other small provisions.

Shares closed 5.6 per cent higher.