BP halves dividend after suffering record loss

BP has halved its shareholder dividend and posted a record $6.7bn quarterly loss after the coronavirus pandemic hit global demand for oil.

The dividend news is another blow for pension funds and private investors who have seen a string of firms cut or halt payouts.

The loss was largely due to BP writing down the value of its assetsafter it cut its oil price forecasts .

BP said the outlook for oil prices and demand was “challenging and uncertain”.

It also warned that the pandemic could weigh on the global economy for a “sustained period”.

In the short-term, BP said it expected demand for oil could be up to nine million barrels per day lower compared to last year.

It has already announced it will cut 10,000 jobs, with as many as 2,000 set to be lost in the UK.

Oil prices have plunged after the coronavirus virtually shut down major economies.

In April, the price turned negative for the first time in history, meaning producers had to pay buyers to take oil off their hands over fear storage capacity could run out.

BP’s loss for the three months to June compares to a $2.8bn profit in the same period last year.

The oil giant said its dividend would halve to 5.25 cents a share, compared to 10.5 cents in the first quarter.

It follows a similar, earlier move by rival Royal Dutch Shell which cut its first quarter dividend in April – the first reduction to its shareholder payment since the Second World War.

—GH Extractive