British energy giant BP rebounded into vast profit in 2023, it said Tuesday, after slumping into a loss the prior year on its exit from Russia following the conflict in Ukraine.
Profit after taxation rocketed to $15.2 billion last year from a net loss of $2.5 billion in 2022, BP said in a results statement, but added that underlying profit excluding exceptional items halved to $13.8 billion on lower refining margins and oil sales.
Share buyback strategy
BP Plc accelerated share buybacks as its new boss sought to woo investors while sticking to the company's clean-energy strategy.
After fourth-quarter profit exceeded estimates, the London-based oil and gas giant said it will repurchase $1.75 billion of shares each quarter in the first half of the year, compared with $1.5 billion in the prior three months. The company went even further to reassure investors, some of whom have criticised its strategy, saying it intends to maintain at least this pace of buybacks until the end of next year.
"Our destination remains unchanged," Chief Executive Officer Murray Auchincloss, who was appointed last month, said in a statement on Tuesday. BP will shift from being an oil producer to a low-carbon energy giant while still "growing long-term value for our shareholders."
BP follows a strong set of results for Big Oil in the fourth quarter, with Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Shell Plc all surpassing expectations. Its earnings announcement caps a tumultuous few months that saw the abrupt resignation of former CEO Bernard Looney, a swell of rumors that it was a potential takeover target, and most recently calls from activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners to divert spending from renewables into oil and gas.
BP's adjusted net income for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $2.99 billion, compared with $4.81 billion a year earlier and $3.29 billion in the third quarter. That exceeded the average estimate of $2.76 billion.