BP expects to pay dividend by next year

BP’s new chief executive Bob Dudley moved to further restore the beleaguered oil giant’s image yesterday after he said BP may resume paying a dividend to shareholders in the new year.

Dudley, who takes over the top job from Tony Hayward today, said that BP’s board will meet in the coming months to discuss restoring its dividend payout.

The group suspended investor payouts after having to set aside $20bn (£12.7bn) to pay for the clean up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“The board will get together and talk before the end of the year about restoring a dividend in some form in the first quarter. Its obviously for the board to decide, [but] from what I see happening in the performances of the businesses, I believe we will get there,” said Dudley yesterday.

Last year, BP paid out about £7bn in dividends, making it the single biggest dividend payer in the FTSE 100 list of leading companies.

His comments will help to restore shareholder confidence in BP after the Gulf spill and repeated gaffes by Haywood tarnished the group’s reputation.

Dudley also said that BP was still committed to doing business in the US and said that the company would have to demonstrate that it had “learned its lessons” after the Gulf disaster. The new oil boss also pledged to make BP “a good compelling investment for shareholders”.