Canada's Cenovus Energy on April 27 reported a more than seven-fold jump in quarterly profit that surpassed analyst estimates and nearly tripled its dividend, as supply concerns boosted crude prices to multi-year highs.
Shares in Calgary-based Cenovus rose 6.1% on the Toronto Stock Exchange to C$22.35.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated concerns about an already-tight global oil market and pushed crude prices to their highest levels in more than a decade. WTI was last trading around $100.
Cenovus bought rival Husky Energy last year to create Canada's second-largest oil and gas producer. Upstream production rose to 798,600 boe/d in the first quarter, from 769,254 boe/d a year earlier.
The company, which reduced its net debt to C$8.4 billion as of the end of March, announced plans to return 50% of excess free funds flow to shareholders through buybacks or variable dividends when debt is below C$9 billion.
When net debt falls below Cenovus's target of C$4 billion, the company plans to return 100% of excess free funds to shareholders.
"We have built this business with a focus on free funds flow generation, and we have made rapid progress on the balance sheet," Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix said on a conference call.
The company said its base dividend will increase from $0.14 per share to $0.42 per share annually, beginning in the second quarter of this year.
Excluding one-time items, Cenovus earned 79 Canadian cents per share, beating analysts' estimates of 71 Canadian cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The Calgary Alberta-based company's net earnings rose to C$1.63 billion ($1.27 billion), or 81 Canadian cents per share, for the first-quarter ended March 31, from C$220 million, or 10 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Cenovus raised its 2022 capital expenditure forecast by C$300 million to a range of C$2.9 billion to C$3.3 billion, to reflect increased costs associated with rebuilding its Superior Refinery in Wisconsin.
The rebuild is now expected to cost about $1.2 billion, up from about $950 million, due to factors including higher labor costs, pandemic-related expenses, inflation and supply chain constraints, the company said.
Cenovus has a number of oil sands facilities and refineries undergoing turnarounds in the second quarter, which will impact production and refining output. However, Pourbaix said he expects a strong second half of the year once maintenance is finished.
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