BP's 4Q Profit Falls Short of Views

By FOXBusiness

BP (NYSE:BP) revealed fourth-quarter profits on Tuesday that trailed analysts’ expectations, but the U.K. oil giant unveiled plans to resume dividend payouts as it continues to recover from the Gulf oil spill.

BP also said it plans to transform its U.S. downstream business and auction off a pair of refineries in Texas and California.

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In the fourth quarter, BP said its replacement cost profit came in at $4.61 billion, compared with $3.45 billion a year earlier. Analysts had called for a stronger adjusted-profit of $4.87 billion.Net income jumped 29.6% to $5.57 billion last quarter. Revenue increased 14% to $83.99 billion.

“I am determined that we will emerge from this episode as a company that is safer, stronger, more sustainable, more trusted and also more valuable," CEO Bub Dudley said in a statement.

BP said it will pay a dividend of 7 cents per share, or 42 cents per American depositary share, on March 28. BP halted its dividend payouts in the wake of last April’s Gulf oil spill, which was the worst in U.S. history.

BP said it plans to grow its dividend over time, in line with the company’s financial health.

“We have chosen a prudent level that reflects the company's strong underlying financial and operating performance but also recognizes the need to fully meet our obligations in the Gulf of Mexico and to maintain financial flexibility,” BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in a statement.

BP said it plans to seek buyers for its Texas City, Tex. refinery and another one in Carson, Calif. The company plans to complete the sales by the end of 2012, halving its U.S. refining capacity.

“The moves we have announced today will give BP a smaller, but well-positioned and very competitive portfolio of refining and marketing businesses,” said Iain Conn, BP’s refining and marketing CEO, predicting the assets will “prove extremely attractive to other operators.”

BP’s U.S.-listed shares slid 1.85% to $46.69 ahead of Tuesday’s kickoff. The stock had been up more than 7% on the year as of Monday’s close.

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