Finance

Exxon posts highest quarterly profit in years, but revenue disappoints

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A logo of the Exxon Mobil Corp is seen at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 24, 2018.
Sergio Moraes | Reuters

Exxon said Friday that its third-quarter profit was the highest in years as improving demand, higher commodity prices and streamlined operations boosted results.

The company earned $1.58 per share during the period on an adjusted basis, which was ahead of the $1.56 analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. Revenue totaled $73.79 billion, short of the $76.34 billion the Street was expecting.

“All three of our core businesses generated positive earnings during the quarter, with strong operations and cost control, as well as increased realizations and improved demand for fuels,” Darren Woods, Exxon’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The $1.58 in EPS is the biggest adjusted quarterly profit since 2014, according to FactSet.

Exxon said its cash flow from operating activities reached $12.1 billion, funding capital investments, debt reduction and the company’s dividend. Earlier this week the company announced its first divided hike in more than two years.

The oil giant said Friday that starting in 2022 it plans to begin a share repurchase program of up to $10 billion over the following 12 to 24 months.

As Exxon and the energy industry more broadly recovered from the pandemic and the demand destruction it brought, shareholders have demanded capital discipline. Exxon has implemented aggressive cost-cutting measures, and the company expects its 2021 capital program to come in near the low end of the $16 billion to $19 billion range it previously outlined.

The company’s third-quarter results also speaks to Exxon’s ongoing recovery following the pandemic. During the second quarter the company earned $1.10 per share on revenue of $67.74 billion.

Exxon’s revenue jumped nearly 60% year over year. In the third quarter of 2020 Exxon lost 18 cents per share on an adjusted basis while generating $46.2 billion in revenue.

During the latest quarter Exxon spent $3.9 billion on capital and exploration productions, with oil-equivalent production standing at 3.7 million barrels per day.

Shares of Exxon advanced 1% during premarket trading on Friday. For the year the stock is up 56%, more or less matching the S&P energy sector’s 53% return.

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