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Outgoing BP boss hands shareholders dividend rise

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Mr Dudley will be replaced as BP CEO by Irishman Bernard Looney (pictured)

Mr Dudley will be replaced as BP CEO by Irishman Bernard Looney (pictured)

Mr Dudley will be replaced as BP CEO by Irishman Bernard Looney (pictured)

Outgoing BP boss Bob Dudley beat expectations in the final set of results he presented as chief executive, allowing him to give shareholders an increased dividend as a leaving gift.

The oil giant reported underlying replacement cost (RC) profit, its most watched measure, reached $2.6bn (€2.35bn) for the fourth quarter.

Although it is down from $3.5bn (€3.1bn) in the same period last year, it still beat the $2.1bn (€1.9bn) that brokers had forecast.

On a full-year basis underlying RC profit was nearly $10bn (€9bn), a reduction from $12.7bn (€11.5bn) a year earlier.

On a reported basis, the fourth quarter RC profit fell by 65pc to $3.5bn (€3.2bn).

As a result Mr Dudley was able to increase his shareholders' dividend by 2.4pc to 10.5 cents per share, which will be paid at the end of March.

The finalised figure in sterling will be published in mid-March.

"BP is performing well, with safe and reliable operations, continued strategic progress and strong cash delivery," Mr Dudley said.

"This all supports our commitment to growing distributions to shareholders over the long term and the dividend rise we announced today."

The news comes on Mr Dudley's last day in charge of the business.

The American who steered the oil major through its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, will hand over to Irishman Bernard Looney on Wednesday.

Mr Dudley said: "After almost 10 years, this is now my last quarter as CEO.

"In that time, we have achieved a huge amount together and I am proud to be handing over a safer and stronger BP to Bernard and his team.

"I am confident that under their leadership, BP will continue to successfully navigate the rapidly-changing energy landscape."

PA Media