Integrated energy company Chevron Corp. (CVX: Quote) on Friday reported a 4 percent rise in first-quarter profit, benefiting from higher crude oil prices that led to a modest growth in revenue. However, production dropped from last year owing partly to normal field declines.
The company's Board of Directors approved an 11.1 percent increase in the quarterly dividend to $0.90 per share, payable in June.
CEO John Watson said, "In the first quarter, we continued to post strong earnings and healthy cash flows. This has enabled us to both reward our shareholders with a substantial dividend increase, our third in just over a year, and to reinvest in profitable growth projects to help meet rising global energy demand."
Net income attributable to the company grew to $6.47 billion or $3.27 per share from $6.21 billion or $3.09 per share in the prior year. On average, 18 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $3.26 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.
Sales and other operating revenues rose to $58.90 billion from $58.41 billion. Total revenues and other income advanced to $60.71 billion from $60.34 billion. Analysts estimated revenues of $72.42 billion for the quarter.
Upstream earnings grew 3 percent to $6.17 billion with increases in both the U.S. and international operations, amid higher crude oil price realizations.
Net oil-equivalent production slipped to 2.63 million barrels per day from 2.76 million barrels per day as production increases from project ramp-ups in Thailand and the U.S. were more than offset by normal field declines, maintenance-related downtime and dispositions.
Watson added that the company's key development projects remain on track to deliver volume growth over the next five years. Also, he added that new production is coming on as planned, and the firm continues to see strong customer interest in the Australia LNG projects supporting its future growth.
Downstream earnings increased to $804 million from $622 million with a marked increase in international downstream operations that benefited from gains of about $200 million on asset sales, primarily reflecting the sale of the company's fuels and finished lubricants businesses in Spain.
Chevron purchased $1.25 billion of its common stock in the first quarter 2012 under its share repurchase program.
CVX closed on Thursday at $106.22, up from the prior close of $103.85, on a volume of 8.54 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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