BP today announced an interim dividend of 5.25 cents per ordinary share which is expected to be paid on 18 June 2021 to ordinary shareholders and American Depositary Share (ADS) holders on the register on 7 May 2021. The ex-dividend date will be 6 May 2021. The corresponding amount in sterling is due to be announced on 8 June 2021, calculated based on the average of the market exchange rates over three dealing days between 3 June 2021 and 7 June 2021. Holders of ADSs are expected to receive $0.315 per ADS (less applicable fees). The board has decided not to offer a scrip dividend alternative in respect of the first quarter 2021 dividend. Ordinary shareholders and ADS holders (subject to certain exceptions) will be able to participate in a dividend reinvestment programme.
Other financial highlights include:
Strong results and cash flow delivery
• Reported profit for the quarter was $4.7 billion, compared with $1.4 billion profit for the fourth quarter 2020.
• Underlying replacement cost profit* was $2.6 billion, compared with $0.1 billion for the previous quarter. This result was driven by an exceptional gas marketing and trading performance, significantly higher oil prices and higher refining margins.
• Operating cash flow of $6.1 billion was underpinned by strong business performance, with a working capital* build (after adjusting for inventory holding gains) of $1.2 billion including $0.5 billion of severance payments. This build was largely offset by other timing differences.
• Divestment and other proceeds were $4.8 billion in the quarter, including $2.4 billion from the divestment of a 20% stake in Oman Block 61 and $1.0 billion final instalment for the sale of the petrochemicals business.
Net debt target achieved, $500 million share buybacks in the second quarter
• Net debt reduced by $5.6 billion to reach $33.3 billion at the end of the quarter. Having reached $35 billion net debt, bp is now retiring this target and remains committed to maintaining a strong investment grade credit rating.
• bp is introducing an intent going forward to offset dilution from vesting of awards under employee share schemes through buybacks. Surplus cash flow is now defined after the cost of buying back these shares.
• In addition, bp remains committed to returning at least 60% of surplus cash flow to shareholders through share buybacks, subject to maintaining a strong investment grade credit rating. In considering the quantum of buybacks, the board will take account of the cumulative level of, and outlook for, surplus cash flow with the intention to provide guidance on a quarter-forward basis while macro uncertainties remain.