British Petroleum Profits Down 17 Percent in Quarter

Article excerpt

British Petroleum Co. PLC, the world's fourth-largest oil company, said Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 17 percent because of the steep fall in crude oil prices.

The London-based company, which owns 55.5 percent of Cleveland-based Standard Oil Co., said it earned 345 million pounds in the quarter ended Sept. 30, or $511 million at the average exchange rate prevailing during the period of about $1.48 to the pound.

That compared to profit of 416 million pounds in the year-earlier period. Earnings per share fell to 18.8 pence from 22.7 pence a year earlier. Earnings per American Depositary Receipt, each of which equals four shares, were $1.12, down from $1.24.

Revenue for the quarter fell 34.5 percent to 5.92 billion pounds, or $8.76 billion, from 9.42 billion pounds a year earlier.

British Petroleum's financial statements are based on British accounting methods and cannot be directly compared to those of most American companies. Inventories are valued on the basis of first in, first out (FIFO) instead of the typical American system of last in, first out (LIFO).

For the first nine months of the year, British Petroleum's profit fell 54 percent to 581 million pounds, or $860 million, from 1.28 billion pounds a year earlier. Earnings per share fell to 31.7 pence from 69.7 pence. Earnings per ADR rose to $5.10 from $3.66.

An extraordinary charge reduced profit by 316 million pounds in the nine months. …

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