BP boss expects new year dividend

  • 30 September 2010
  • From the section Business

BP may resume paying a dividend to shareholders in the new year, incoming chief executive Bob Dudley has said.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, he said BP's board would meet to discuss restoring the dividend in the coming months.

BP stopped paying out money to shareholders following the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr Dudley will formally take over from Tony Hayward as BP's chief executive on Friday.

"The board will get together and talk before the end of the year about restoring a dividend in some form in the first quarter," he told the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston.

"Its obviously for the board to decide, [but] from what I see happening in the performances of the businesses, i believe we will get there."

His plans for restoring the dividend will be encouraging news for shareholders.

Last year, BP paid out about £7bn in dividends, making it the single biggest dividend payer in the FTSE 100 list of leading companies.

Restoring reputations

Mr Dudley also pledged to make BP "a good compelling investment for shareholders".

Despite the damage to the company's reputation caused by the oil disaster, Mr Dudley said the company was fully committed to doing business in the US.

But he acknowledged that the accident had been "a wake up call" to the entire oil and gas industry, and BP would have to demonstrate it had "learned its lessons".

"If we meet our obligations, like we have been, then over time people will say - this was a good corporate citizen to respond to an accident that has been a wake up call to the entire oil and gas industry.

"If we share our learnings to ensure this doesn't happen again then maybe we can restore our reputation in the US," he said.

"The US uses a lot of energy, and we are the biggest energy producer in the US, so it's an important part of our portfolio globally."

Mr Dudley also defended outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward, who was widely criticised for his handling of the oil spill, saying he had done "a great job".

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