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Exxon Mobil keeps quarterly dividend flat for first time since 1982

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HOUSTON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N on Wednesday kept its fourth-quarter dividend flat at 87 cents a share, signaling 2020 will be the first year since 1982 that the U.S. oil producer has not raised its shareholder payout.

Exxon this year has pledged deep cost and jobs cuts that could be announced as early as Friday, and the decision to hold the dividend stable could indicate it expects the cost-cutting will allow it to continue making the hefty payout.

At $3.48 per share, the annual dividend is equal to 10.6% of its share price. Any dividend yield above 10% is considered onerous for a company’s finances.

Four years ago, the oil producer stopped buying back its own shares, giving greater prominence to the dividend, which reached $14.7 billion last year.

The company posted its first back-to-back quarterly losses this year and is projected to report a full-year $2 billion loss, Refinitiv estimates show, excluding asset sales or write downs. It reports third-quarter financial results on Friday.

Exxon shares traded at $31.57 on Wednesday, down 3.8%, and at the lowest point in more than two decades. The dividend announcement came after market close.

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: October 28, 2020 at 08:40PM

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