Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) reported earnings today with revenue that topped analysts’ expectations by a wide margin. The results came at a time when the oil and gas sector was reeling under tremendous pressure amidst a broad price collpase. However, both the top and bottom line witnessed continued in their downtrends to reflect the industry pattern. The company’s dividend rate remains 73 cents a share, which was 5.8% more than last year.
Exxon Mobil reported a 58% drop in earnings to $2.78 billion from $6.57 billion while earnings per share plummeted to 67 cents from $1.56. This was four cents a share higher than analysts’ average estimation of 63 cents a share. Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said that results indicated the challenging environment. However, the company was focused on business fundamentals that included effective cost management and project execution.
Total revenues and other income plunged 31.5% to $59.81 billion from $87.28 billion last year. The Street was expecting only $51.36 billion in revenue. The company gained from downstream and chemical earnings that were offset by the significant drop in commodity prices in the upstream. Capital and exploration expenditures dropped 29% to $7.4 billion in the fourth quarter.
Exxon Mobil said that oil-equivalent production grew 4.8% on the whole last quarter with liquids advancing 14% and natural gas witnessing a 5.6% drop. The company closed the quarter with cash at $5.1 billion. That included $785 million in associated asset sales. The oil firm distributed $3.6 billion to its shareholders in the fourth quarter, which included $500 million worth of share buybacks.
Exxon Mobil indicated that it commenced an onshore central processing facility successfully at its Banyu Urip field in Indonesia. As a result, its production hit over 130,000 gross barrels of oil per day for the quarter. The company has also commenced a production pilot program in the Northern Province of Argentina.