BP Chairman: Dividends Canceled, ‘We Care About the Small People’

June 16, 2010

(ChattahBox)—In a surreal moment in politics, a team of BP executives, led by chairman of the board Carl-Henric Svanberg, left today’s White House Gulf disaster showdown, to issue a statement before the assembled reporters. Speaking in somewhat halting English, Swedish chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, said that BP was not a “greedy” company. “We care about the small people,” he said. Although, his sentiment was inartfully phrased, BP’s chairman got his point across, with cash. Besides acknowledging the $20 billion escrow fund and the $100 million for unemployed oil workers, Carl-Henric Svanberg surprisingly announced that dividend payments would be canceled for the remainder of the year.

Carl-Henric Svanberg also apologized to the American people for the ecological and economic disaster caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.The beleaguered oil company released a statement on its website explaining its response to the Gulf oil disaster, including the suspension of dividend payments. In its statement, BP said it would revisit the issue of dividend payouts in 2011, but said it was “right and prudent” to suspend dividend payments in light of the Gulf oil disaster.

“Following a meeting with the President of the United States, the BP Board announces an agreed package of measures to meet its obligations as a responsible party arising from the Deepwater Horizon spill.” [...]

“As a consequence of this agreement, the BP Board has reviewed its dividend policy. Notwithstanding BP’s strong financial and asset position, the current circumstances require the Board to be prudent and it has therefore decided to cancel the previously declared first quarter dividend scheduled for payment on 21st June, and that no interim dividends will be declared in respect of the second and third quarters of 2010.The Board remains strongly committed to the payment of future dividends and delivering long term value to shareholders. The Board will consider resumption of dividend payments in 2011 at the time of issuance of the fourth quarter 2010 results, by which time it expects to have a clearer picture of the longer term impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident.”

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Bengt Nyman/Carl-Henric Svanberg, then-CEO of Ericsson. Photo taken during the Volvo Ocean Race 2009.

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