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BP PLC achieves quarterly target of US$35bn net debt

The oiler plans to return at least 60% of surplus cash flow to shareholders through share buybacks

() said it expects to have reached its US$35bn (£25bn) net debt target during the first quarter this year, from US$38.9bn at the end of 2020.

Chief executive Bernard Looney said in a release it is because of the anticipated delivery of disposal proceeds combined with a “very strong” trading performance in the period.

READ: BP unveils plan for huge new hydrogen plant on Teeside

The oiler has received US$4.7bn (£3.3bn) in the past three months, including US$2.4bn from the sale of a 20% interest in Oman’s Block 61, US$1bn as the final payment from the disposal of BP’s global petrochemicals business to INEOS, US$700mln to offload a 49% interest in a controlled affiliate holding certain refined product and crude logistics assets onshore US and US$400mln from the sale of an interest in software company Palantir.

After achieving this goal, the plan is to return at least 60% of surplus cash flow to shareholders through share buybacks.

The FTSE 100 firm now expects disposal proceeds in 2021 to be at the top end of the previously announced US$4‑6bn range.

Its target of US$25bn of disposal proceeds by 2025 is now supported by agreed or completed transactions of around US$14.7bn with around US$10bn received so far.

“While the level of buyback will depend on net divestments and underlying free cash flow generation, we estimate that at US$60/barrel oil prices, the company will be buying back around US$2-2.5bn in shares annually, which is around 2.5-3% of the current market cap, and that will be in addition to the 5.5% dividend yield,” analysts at Berenberg commented.

Shares advanced 3% to 299.25p on Tuesday morning.

–Adds analyst comment, shares–

Read More: BP PLC achieves quarterly target of US$35bn net debt

2021-04-06 05:25:00

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