BP signals dividends are no longer sacrosanct
By Ron Bousso
LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) - BP said on Thursday an oil market rebalancing and a bounce in oil prices has allowed the company to maintain its dividend but signaled the payout was no longer sacrosanct.
BP, which had long said dividends were an absolute priority, said that although its goal was to maintain dividends, it "must" at the same time secure future by investing wisely.
"Be assured that we keep this balance under regular review. Should the oil price remain lower, longer than expected, we will need to revisit our financial framework," BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told the annual shareholder meeting.
Last year, Italy's ENI became the first major to cut dividends which had become generous after years of high oil prices.
BP's stock was down 1.2 percent at 1130 GMT, slightly underperforming the broader FTSE index and the oil price. (Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Jason Neely)
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