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British oil giant swings into profit

British oil giant swings into profit

British energy major BP yesterday announced net profit of US$4.295 billion (3.1 billion euros) for fourth quarter 2009 after a loss a year earlier as it ramped up production and slashed costs.
BP, which recently overtook Royal Dutch Shell to become Europe's biggest energy group by market value, posted a loss US$3.34 billion in the final quarter of 2008 owing to tumbling oil prices.
Group chief executive Tony Hayward said 2009 had been "one of the best years for BP and its shareholders" in recent times.
"But we are not resting on our laurels. There's a lot more to be done," added Hayward, who has overseen a major cost-cutting program and increase in BP's oil output since becoming chief executive in mid-2007.
BP said in an earnings statement that net profit dropped almost 22 percent to US$16.578 billion for all of 2009 from US$21.7 billion in 2008.
Stripping out exceptional items and changes to the value of oil inventories, BP's profit soared 68 percent to US$4.38 billion in the fourth quarter. However it missed analyst expectations of profit totalling US$4.7 billion, leading to a four percent drop in BP's share price in early London trading.
Energy production meanwhile rose four percent to 3.998 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2009.