BP Remains in Spotlight

BP Remains in Spotlight

BP stock values have plunged to a low that hasn’t been seen in 14 years. Friday’s stock market closed with BP posting the largest loss of the day. Its share price slide contributed to the overall loss of the FTSE 100 for the day.

So far £60 billion have been lost to share values of the business. Investor’s confidence has been rocked with the inability of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to be contained. Additionally a tropical storm building off the coast could hamper clean up.

BP has assured investors that they are financially stable and capable of handling the growing costs of the clean up. To date clean up costs have reached £1.6 billion. Amid mounting pressure from the US President, Barack Obama, and to boost its finances, BP will not pay out any dividends in three quarters. Chief executive Tony Hayward officially handed over day to day control of the Gulf of Mexico crisis to BP Board Director Bob Dudley last week. Those measures are to keep investors on board and BP financially steady.

Hayward is said to have told staff earlier this week that the operating results due out next month will be "very strong". In addition plans are to sell company assets to show strength in BP’s balance sheet. CMC Market analyst Michael Hewson said: "BP remains in the spotlight amid concerns that the company may have to sell assets to cover the costs of the oil spill. With bad weather closing in, it seems that BP continues to lurch from one crisis to another."

If BP can rally its position then the market will gain confidence from investors. BP insists it is in a strong financial position and that pensions are safe. Relief wells are being drilled and the company has established a crisis relief fund to pay out victims of the oil spill.

Despite the company’s efforts to gain confidence and put fail safes in place, the cost of insuring the company’s debt has risen dramatically and is a burden to stockholders. Insuring the company’s debt is 7.25 per cent for one year and 5.856 per cent for five years. That means an investor holding £10 million in BP debt must pay £585,000 to protect itself against default. This is a clear signal of market concern over the mounting costs the oil spill is continuing to build.

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