Exxon notches 45.22 billion dlrs record profit
AFP - Saturday, January 31
WASHINGTON (AFP) - - Exxon Mobil on Friday notched a record 45.22 billion dollar profit in 2008 despite a 33 percent income decline in the fourth quarter as the oil giant rode out high volatility in energy prices.
It was the biggest annual profit declared by any publicly listed company in the world, coming on the back of crude's triple-digit price for most of the year, rocketing to a record peak above 147 dollars a barrel in July.
The Irving, Texas-based company shattered its own annual profit record of 40.6 billion dollars posted in 2007 even as fourth-quarter income declined to 7.82 billion dollars.
The quarterly drop in earnings was the biggest since 2001 as oil prices collapsed at the end of 2008 amid recession in the United States and most of the industrialized world following financial turmoil.
Its quarterly profit even then was equivalent to 1.55 dollars per share, beating analysts expectations of 1.45 dollars.
Exxon, also the largest US oil producer, said capital and exploration spending rose 11 percent to 6.8 billion dollars in the fourth quarter, taking such expenditures for the whole year to 26.1 billion dollars.
"Exxon Mobil's financial strength continued to support its disciplined capital investment approach in the midst of a growing global economic slowdown," company chairman Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
He said that weaker crude oil prices, higher operating expenses, lower chemical volumes and the impact of hurricanes that hit the US Gulf Coast in the fourth quarter were partly offset by higher downstream margins.
The company's quarterly revenues fell 27.4 percent year-over-year to 84.7 billion dollars.
Cash flow from operations and asset sales between October to December was about 12.2 billion dollars, the company said.
Exxon shares rose 1.19 percent to 77.92 dollars.
Chevron, the second biggest American oil firm, reported Friday that its final quarter net profit in 2008 rose marginally -- less than one percent -- to 4.9 billion dollars.
The San Ramon, California-based company's full year income rose 28 percent to 23.93 billion dollars.
Houston-based ConocoPhillips, the third biggest US oil company, was not so lucky, reporting earlier this week a quarterly loss of 31.8 billion dollars, the largest loss in its history, after writing off the value of key assets.
While top oil companies seemed to have pulled through the oil price slump so far, many expect 2009 to be a rough year for petroleum companies.
Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell announced Thursday it made a net loss of 2.81 billion dollars in the final quarter as plunging oil prices slashed the value of inventories.
The loss compared with a net profit of 8.47 billion dollars during the fourth quarter of 2007 when crude prices were far higher, Europe's largest oil company said.
Most oil companies are trimming investments and slashing costs as they faced the biggest downturn in 25 years.
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