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28 Mar 2019 | 09:47

Gulf Keystone Petroleum declares maiden dividend as profit soar on higher oil prices

Gulf Keystone Petroleum declared its maiden dividend following a surge in annual profits as production met the upper end of guidance and higher oil prices boosted revenues to a record.

For 2018, pre-tax profits rose to $79.7m from $14.1m a year earlier and revenue jumped to $250.6m from $172.4m.

The upbeat performance was attributed to a higher Brent price and the signing of a crude oil sales agreement in January 2018 which allowed the group to receive revenues based on its entitlement rather than the capped amount of $12m received for the first nine months of 2017. 'Whilst prices eased towards the end of the period, the increase in value from a low of $55 a barrel for Brent crude in Q4 2017 to a high of $86 a barrel in 2018 meant the Company was able to announce a record profit after tax for the year of $79.9 million, the company said. The company confirmed a dividend policy to shareholders, which would comprise an annual dividend on the ordinary shares of the company of no less than $25m per financial year. 'The new dividend policy represents another major milestone for the Company. It crystallises returns to shareholders while we preserve the ability to fully fund the Shaikan development and maintain a strong balance sheet; our platform for growth,' the company said. For 2019, gross production guidance was unchanged at 32,000 - 38,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). Gross capex was expected between $130m and $15m , in addition to $20m to $45m associated with the subsequent development phase. The company said it was on track for material uplift in production to 55,000 bopd in the first quarter of 2020.

At 9:47am: (LON:GKP) Gulf Keystone Petroleum share price was +7.75p at 267.75p

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