NEWS DIGEST 03.08.2021: BP posts higher than expected profits, other stories

Good morning. Today’s news digest comes via Google News – Business.

The U.K.-based energy major BP said it will buy back $1.4 billion of its own shares in the third quarter on the back of a $2.4 billion cash surplus accrued in the first half of the year. The energy major posted full-year underlying replacement cost profit, used as a proxy for net profit, of $2.8 billion. Operating cash flow sat at $5.4 billion at the end of the second quarter, which includes the annual payment of around $1.2 billion the company makes for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Meanwhile net debt fell to $32.7 billion from $33.3 billion in the first quarter, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of decreased debt from the $51 billion seen in the first quarter of 2020. Oil prices have rebounded to reach multi-year highs in recent months and all three of the world’s main forecasting agencies – OPEC, the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration – now expect a demand-led recovery to pick up speed in the second half of the year – Oil giant BP ups dividend and confirms share buybacks as it posts better-than-expected quarterly profit (CNBC)

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Energy giant outlines quarterly $1bn share buybacks until 2025 in sign of confidence on oil prices after pandemic plunge. BP has unveiled a dividend hike and more share buybacks, with plans for further hefty payouts for investors after swinging to a half-year profit. Net profit for the April-June quarter hit $3.1bn, compared with a loss after tax of $16.8bn in the second quarter of 2020. The energy behemoth announced a 4pc rise in the shareholder dividend for the second quarter to take it to 5.46 cents per share, and said it would undertake a $1.4bn share buyback before its third-quarter results. Boss Bernard Looney said: “We are a year into executing BP’s strategy to become an integrated energy company and are making good progress – delivering another quarter of strong performance while investing for the future in a disciplined way. This shows we continue to perform while transforming BP – generating value for our shareholders today while we transition the company for the future.” Investors sent BP’s share price 3pc higher to 298.4p in early trading – BP boosts dividend as it returns to profit on oil recovery (The Telegraph)

Chancellor tells young that working from home could harm their career. Ministers have dropped formal advice to work from home and instead “expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer”. Businesses are taking a cautious approach, with millions of workers expected to spend more days at home than in the office after the pandemic triggered a revolution in working patterns. Some ministers believe that the shift may be permanent – Go back to office if you want to get on, says Rishi Sunak (The Times)

RISHI Sunak today urged youngsters to get back to the office as he warned working from home could scupper their careers. In an interview with LinkedIn News, Mr Sunak today said how “valuable” working in an office can be. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more people are working in the office this month than they were last month. In February 37 per cent of employees said they were working from home compared with 34 per cent who were travelling to work. At the end of last month the number of people working from home was much smaller – with 20 per cent working remotely and 50 per cent fully in the office – BACK TO WORK Rishi Sunak warns home working will harm your career as he urges young Brits ‘Get back to the office to get on’ (The Sun News)

Qantas says it will stand down 2,500 staff as a lockdown in Sydney impacts air travel across Australia. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the latest Delta outbreaks had led to thousands of cancelled flights. Last year, Qantas was forced to axe about 6,000 staff – about a fifth of its workforce. On Tuesday, Mr Joyce said domestic travel could return to 50-60% of normal levels with the expected reopening of Victoria and South Australia. Qantas has not been able to resume international routes – except to New Zealand – due to Australia’s international border closure – Qantas stands down 2,500 staff over Sydney lockdown (BBC News World Australia)

About 2,500 Qantas and Jetstar employees will be stood down for two months because of domestic coronavirus border closures, in a move unions have criticised for being taken one day after the announcement of a government wage support package. Domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers will be stood down, mostly in New South Wales, but won’t lose their jobs. CEO Alan Joyce said the different schemes meant that the stood down Qantas workers, which include 2,500 in domestic operations and 6,000 in international operations, will be receiving different levels of support from either Covid disaster payments or the new scheme. “Fortunately, we know that once borders do reopen, travel is at the top of people’s list and flying tends to come back quickly, so we can get our employees back to work.” he added. At a press conference later on Tuesday morning, Joyce defended standing down the staff in light of the significant government support it has received throughout the pandemic, which is on track to reach $2bn. Joyce said the way government support had been reported was “misleading”, and explained the majority had been from jobkeeper payments, repatriation flights and ongoing freight – services which he said “benefit the economy”. In a tweet, the Transport Workers’ Union said the timing of the government’s wage subsidy and the Qantas announcement on Tuesday meant the package had been “tailored” for the airline – Qantas and Jetstar stand down 2,500 staff for two months due to border closures (The Guardian UK edition News Qantas)

Summarised by SMMRY.

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