Woodside hikes dividend after record profit, shares up


Recasts to add share moves, analyst commentary

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Woodside Energy WDS.AXlifted its final dividend on Monday after reporting a more than tripling of profit on a beefed-up oil and gas portfolio following its merger with BHP's petroleum arm and surging oil and gas prices, sending its shares over 2% higher.

The oil and gas explorer received higher prices for its LNG as buyers from Asia and Europe looked for alternative supplies following Western sanctions on Russia. The company's average realised price for LNG nearly doubled to $116.9 per barrel of oil equivalent from a year earlier.

Woodside, which became a top-10 global independent oil and gas producer after its merger with BHP Group's BHP.AX petroleum arm in June last year, announced a final dividend of 144 cents per share, higher than the 105 cents per share paid a year ago.

"In what was a momentous year for Woodside," said Chief Executive Meg O'Neill, referring to the BHP merger, the company has implemented "initiatives to deliver the targeted $400 million in synergies ahead of our original schedule."

"Throughout the year we took steps to maximise our exposure to favourable prices, expanding our global marketing presence and increasing trading activities. Our exposure to gas hub pricing for produced LNG sales was 23%," O'Neill said.

The oil and gas explorer reiterated its output forecast for fiscal 2023 at 180 million-190 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mmboe), up from its production in 2022 of 157.7 mmboe.

The country's top independent gas producer posted a record underlying net profit after tax, excluding one-time charges, of $5.23 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $1.62 billion a year ago. This missed a Refinitiv Eikon estimate of $5.54 billion.

Brokerage Citi said the annual result was in line with its own estimates but was 6% below the consensus estimates, adding the unchanged production guidance for fiscal 2023 is good news as "no bad news is good news."

Shares in Woodside Energy climbed as much as 2.6% to A$35.5.

(Reporting by Riya Sharma and Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Chris Reese)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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