Updates from BP, Ocado and BG Group


The FTSE 100 dropped almost 45 points yesterday, down -0.69% to 6,465. Lloyds helped tug the index down, slipping 3.97% to 79.99p with Aberdeen Asset Management down 3.61% to 376p. However miner Randgold Resources surged 6.25% to 4455p.

Across the pond, the Dow Jones sank more than 2% to 15,372, down 326 points, on US growth worry.

Plenty of big-name numbers this morning. We start with oil giant BP and a 2013 profits drop. Underlying replacement cost profit for the fourth quarter was $2.8 billion, compared with $3.9 billion for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Full-year underlying replacement cost profit was $13.4 billion for 2013, compared with $17.1 billion for 2012. Compared with the same periods in 2012, both fourth quarter and full year 2013 underlying numbers were hit by BP's major divestment programme.

For 2014, BP expects refining margins to improve from the low levels seen in the fourth quarter of 2013, "but that in general the fuels and petrochemicals environments will remain challenging."

Next, BG Group. Full year total operating profit slips 5% at $7.6 billion with upstream total operating profit down 9%. Earnings per share remain flat at 128.6 cents with total EPS down 33% at 64.8 cents. The company recently issued a profits warning, slashing production forecasts for a second time.

The full year dividend increases 10% to 28.75 cents per share (18.02 pence per share) however. BG Group says it expects to be free cash flow positive in 2015.

"Clearly," says chief exec Chris Finlayson, "we also have to address the near-term challenges we face in Egypt, and deliver our plans consistently and effectively. Our capital expenditure will begin to decline in 2014 and we continue to expect to be free cash flow positive in 2015."

Finally, Ocado has announced preliminary numbers for the full year. Revenues climb 18.8% to £792.1m with gross sales up 17.2% to £843m. For 2014 Ocado - which remains unprofitable, still - says it expects to grow broadly in line with, or slightly ahead of, the market.

Growth in frequent shoppers increased over twice as quickly as growth in active customers due to increased focus on new customer acquisition it claims. Ocado also says its new back-operations partnership with Morrisons allowed them to deliver the project "in a very short time frame".

Last year Morrisons agreed to pay Ocado £170m to snap up its Dordon distribution centre as well as licensing the company's technology, though Morrisons will also have to spend more than £30m improving the existing centre plus IT costs.