Exxon Mobil's Fourth-Quarter Profit Tops Estimates as Oil and Gas Prices Soar; Shares Rise

Mike Blake | Reuters

Exxon Mobil's revenue jumped more than 80% year over year during the fourth quarter amid a rebound in oil and gas prices, the company said Tuesday. With Exxon now in a stronger financial position, the company said it will begin to buy back stock during the first quarter.

Shares advanced more than 6% on Tuesday to trade at the highest level since April 2019.

The oil giant earned $2.05 per share during the period excluding items, ahead of the $1.93 that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. Revenue came in at $84.97 billion, which was short of the $91.85 billion analysts were expecting.

In the same quarter one year ago the company earned 3 cents per share excluding items on sales of $46.54 billion. During the third quarter of 2021 the company earned $1.58 per share on an adjusted basis, on sales of $73.79 billion.

In the latest quarter Exxon generated $48 billion of cash flow from operating activities, which was the highest since 2012. The company also paid down an additional $9 billion in debt during the fourth quarter, reducing debt by $20 billion over the course of full-year 2021. Exxon's debt level is now back to pre-pandemic levels.

The company said it will begin buying back stock during the first quarter of 2022, as part of a previously announced plan to repurchase up to $10 billion over the next 12 to 24 months.

On Monday the company announced that it's restructuring its business into three divisions, and also moving its headquarters to Houston from Irving, Texas. Beginning April 1 the company's three divisions will be: Upstream, production solutions and low-carbon solutions. The company said the streamlined operations will enhance effectiveness and reduce costs.

"Our new streamlined business structure is another example of the actions we are taking to further strengthen our competitive advantages and grow shareholder value," Exxon CEO Darren Woods said in a statement Tuesday. "We've made great progress in 2021 and our forward plans position us to lead in cash flow and earnings growth, operating performance, and the energy transition."

Exxon's benefitted from the recovery in oil and gas prices. Crude is trading around its highest level in more than seven years, and on Friday international benchmark Brent crude settled above $90 for the first time since October 2014.

Exxon said it spent $16.6 billion during the full year 2021, which was in line with guidance. For 2022, the company expects to spend between $21 billion and $24 billion.

Shares of Exxon are up nearly 80% over the last year.

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