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BP Reports Highest Quarterly Cash Flow in Almost 8 Years

BP shares soared as much as 8% after the company reported strong first quarter earnings. Despite a $25.5 billion charge due to its exit from its Russian joint venture with Rosneft, the company also increased its share buyback program by $2.5 billion.

The company recorded adjusted EPS of 32¢, 44% ahead of the consensus EPS of 22.25¢. Adjusted EBIT was $10.2 billion versus the $8.4 billion expected by analysts.

BP generated operating cash flow of $8.2 billion, the highest quarterly figure since the third quarter of 2014. Much of the boost came in the form of the company’s large commodity trading business.

BP also guided towards a strong second quarter as oil and gas prices remain elevated and high volatility continues to provide tailwinds to its trading arm. Crack spreads, the difference between the price of refined products and crude oil, similarly continue to increase and should remain strong going into the summer travel season. That auger’s well for BP’s refinery business, which has been a weak spot lately.

The company maintained its CapEx spend at $15 billion for the fiscal year, showing discipline in costs despite the surging top-line. Leverage at the consolidated level increased slightly due to the write-down of the Russian equity investment, but net debt also decreased.

Lastly, the current balance sheet strength means that BP will enter any future downcycle in commodity prices in a much stronger fiscal position than it did the downcycle in 2014.