A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas.
Jessica Rinaldi | Reuters
Exxon Mobil returned to profitability during the first quarter, beating top- and bottom-line estimates for the period, as the company recovers from the havoc wreaked on the energy sector by the coronavirus pandemic.
The oil giant earned $2.7 billion during the period. The company posted earnings per share of 65 cents excluding items on $59.15 billion in revenue. Wall Street analysts expected the company to earn 59 cents per share on $54.6 billion in revenue, according to estimates from Refinitiv.
In the first quarter a year earlier, the company lost $610 million as the impacts of the coronavirus began to weigh. Last quarter, the company posted a $20.1 billion loss, its fourth-straight quarter of losses.
Shares of Exxon were flat during premarket trading on Friday.
“The strong first quarter results reflect the benefits of higher commodity prices and our focus on structural cost reductions, while prioritizing investments in assets with a low cost of supply,” Darren Woods, Exxon’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“Cash flow from operating activities during the quarter fully covered the dividend and capital investments,” he added.
Exxon’s oil-equivalent production rose 3% quarter-over-quarter to 3.8 million barrels per day. The company said the winter storm that hammered the southern United States in Texas cost the company $600 million across its businesses.
Energy is the top-performing S&P 500 sectors this year, and shares of Exxon are up 43% for 2021 through Thursday’s close.
To combat lower oil prices over the last year, the company implemented aggressive cost-cutting measures. Throughout the downturn Exxon maintained its commitment to its dividend, which currently stands at 5.9%.
More recently, the company has faced pressure from shareholders to shake up its board of directors. As a result the company added three new board members, including known activist investor and ESG proponent Jeffrey Ubben.
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