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BP rebounds into USD4.9B net profit in third quarter

LONDON (AFP) – British oil giant BP said yesterday it rebounded strongly into net profit in the third quarter after large accounting charges had pushed it into the red a year earlier.

Profit after taxation stood at USD4.9 billion (EUR4.6 billion) in the three months to September, after a net loss of USD2.2 billion the previous year, BP said in a results statement.

However, underlying replacement cost profit excluding exceptional items more than halved to USD3.3 billion.

That compared with USD8.2 billion a year earlier, when it was energised by surging gas and oil prices. And it also missed market expectations of about USD4.0 billion.

“This has been a solid quarter supported by strong underlying operational performance demonstrating our continued focus on delivery,” said BP’s interim chief executive Murray Auchincloss.

“We remain committed to executing our strategy, expect to grow earnings through this decade, and (are) on track to deliver strong returns for our shareholders.”

A section of the BP oil platform in the North Sea, Aberdeen, Scotland. PHOTO: AFP

Former finance chief Auchincloss took the reins in September after ex-chief executive officer (CEO) Bernard Looney resigned unexpectedly over his failure to disclose past relationships with colleagues.

Auchincloss will now act as interim CEO while the group seeks a permanent successor.The energy major however announced a new USD1.5-billion stock buyback, but shares sank in early morning deals.

BP’s share price fell 4.5 per cent to 502.80 pence, topping the fallers board on London’s rising stock market.

“The improved quarterly performance was largely driven by higher refining margins and oil and gas production, although on an underlying basis lower oil and gas realisations and weak gas trading blotted the copybook,” noted Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter.