BP makes its first annual loss since 1992

Oil giant BP (British Petroleum)

Business digest: BP loses $4.9bn, but will resume paying dividends anyway

LAST UPDATED AT 10:07 ON Tue 1 Feb 2011

BP has reported its first annual loss in almost 20 years. The company responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has announced a loss of $4.9bn, after pressure from the American government forced it to pay $40.9bn in compensation.

Despite these figures, BP is to resume paying dividends to its investors for the fourth quarter. The company, which suspended its dividend payment for the second and third quarter in order to help finance the clean up, will pay 7 cents (4.36p) a share.

"We believe now is the right time to resume payment of a dividend to our shareholders," said BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

"We have chosen a prudent level that reflects the company's strong underlying financial and operating performance but also recognises the need to fully meet our obligations in the Gulf of Mexico."

To secure future financial stability, BP plans to continue selling its less lucrative assets, including half of its US refineries, and to invest in further exploration. Its hope is that areas such as the Arctic Circle will yield high levels of oil from smaller, less expensive bases.

Read a full report at the Gaurdian. · 

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