Friday, June 11, 2010

"How BP will announce its dividend suspension"

From Felix Salmon at Reuters:
The WSJ is running a poll asking whether its readers think BP will suspend its dividend; so far, with 2,342 votes, the results are almost exactly 50-50. But I think that Peston is right on this one and that the WSJ’s readers are a bit behind the curve: the dividend suspension is not a question of whether, but when.

The timetable works like this: tomorrow there’s a phone call between David Cameron and Barack Obama, in which BP will be discussed. They won’t have a lot in the way of substantive disagreements: they’ll both agree that BP should pay all legitimate damages arising from the spill. The only difference between them will be rhetorical: Obama will continue to bash BP, while Cameron will either personally or through his finance minister continue to make noises about how important the company is to the UK economy.

On Monday, the board of directors of BP will meet and will decide to delay the company’s second-quarter dividend, currently due to be announced at the end of July, “until the crisis can be brought under control”, in the words of Robin Pagnamenta. That’s likely to be a while, and we can probably expect the same suspension to apply to the third-quarter dividend, as well....MORE