BP shares up on financial results

<p>BP has announced an increase in its dividend.</p>

The share price of BP is up this morning (April 29th) after the company revealed an increase in the dividend it is paying to shareholders in its latest financial results.

Although the profits announced by the firm for the first quarter of the year were down on the same period in 2013, investors responded positively to the data and stocks rose in early trading.

BP confirmed it made profits of $3.22 billion (£1.92 billion) for the January to March period, which is a 23 per cent drop compared to the $4.22 billion the company made last year.

There was better news for the company as it said the dividend it would be paying to its shareholders would be increased by eight per cent compared to the payment for Q1 2013.

BP pointed out in a statement that its first quarter results had been affected by write-offs in its exploration activity, while the data also included a $12.5 billion gain that came from BP's sale of its stake in Russian venture TNK-BP.

Solid results

Group chief executive Bob Dudley stated that the results represent a "solid" first three months of the new year. He added: "Operating cash flow was strong in the first quarter, we have seen further exploration success and upstream project start-ups, and the upgraded Whiting refinery is ramping up steadily. We remain confident of delivering our ten-point plan targets that we set in 2011 for delivery in 2014."

BP also revealed in the financial statement that the company is close to completion of its current $8 billion share buyback programme, while the firm said $7.6 billion has been spent on repurchasing shares for cancellation.

Mr Dudley noted that material growth in operating cash flow is expected by the firm in the coming months, while the aim for the company is to deliver sustainable growth in free cash flow.

He said: "This will support increasing distributions to our shareholders. As well as progressive growth in the dividend per share, we expect to use surplus cash to support further distributions through share buy-backs or other mechanisms."

At 08:31 BST this morning, the share price of BP was up by more than one per cent.

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