Thursday 17 December 2020 11:21 am

Cairn Energy to pay out special $250m dividend after Senegal sale

Oil firm Cairn Energy today said it would pay shareholders a special dividend worth a combined $250m (£188m) on completion of the sale of its Senegalese assets.

Read more: Cairn Energy plunges to $324m loss after hefty one-off charge

The one-off payment will see the exploratory firm pay out 32p per share to investors, it said in a statement.

The payout, which is expected on 25 January, stands out after a year of strife for the world’s oil and gas producers.

Over the course of the year, a historic collapse in oil prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic forced many firms to cut dividend payments.

Anglo-Dutch giant Shell, for example, slashed payouts for the first time since the Second World War in the spring.

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The one-off payment is an expression of confidence by Cairn, which has seen its shares nearly return to pre-pandemic levels after plummeting in the spring.

Australian company Woodside will pay $525m for the Senegal assets, with an extra $100m to follow if certain conditions are met.

The deal is expected to close before the end of 2020, the FTSE 250 firm said.

Oil prices were approaching nine-month highs this morning as a combination of factors buoyed the market.

Read more: Oil prices top $50 for the first time since pandemic declared

Reports that a new US economic support package worth $900bn has boosted markets around the world, while a bigger than expected draw on crude stocks has also helped push prices up.