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BP Reports $17 Billion First-Quarter Profit

LONDON -- The shares of BP  (LSE: BP  ) (NYSE: BP  ) climbed 12 pence to 469 pence during early London trade this morning after the FTSE 100 member reported a first-quarter profit of $17 billion.

BP said the performance was bolstered by the disposal of the group's TNK-BP operation, which was sold to Rosneft during the period and prompted an accounting gain of $12 billion.

Adjusting for the TNK-BP sale and other items, BP said its underlying profit for January, February and March came to $4.2 billion -- some $400 million less than the underlying level achieved during the first quarter of 2012.

The oil group also claimed the TNK-BP disposal had helped net debt reduce from $31 billion to $17.7 billion during the 12 months to March 2013. Gearing was calculated to be 11.9%, and within the lower half of the firm's 10%-20% target range.

Notably, BP said the gain following TNK-BP disposal would be exempt from UK corporation tax under the provisions of the substantial shareholdings exemption introduced for U.K, companies in 2002.

Today's first-quarter figures also confirmed a dividend of US$0.09 per share and US$834 million spent on share buybacks.

Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, said: "These strong first-quarter results demonstrate the progress BP is making in delivering the performance milestones that support our 10-point plan and underpin our commitment to material operating cash flow growth by 2014."

Annualising today's quarterly figures gives potential earnings of about 57 pence per share and a possible dividend of around 23 pence per share. Those projections equate to a P/E of eight and yield of 4.9%.

Of course, whether those ratings, today's results and the general outlook for multinational oil companies all combine to make BP a buy right now is something only you can decide.

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