Italy’s energy giant Eni (NYSE: E) is raising its dividend to the pre-COVID levels after reporting on Friday an adjusted net profit for the second quarter that was back to pre-pandemic figures.
Eni reported US$1.1 billion (929 million euro) in adjusted net profit for the second quarter, compared to a loss of US$849 million (714 million euro) for the same period of 2020.
Cash flow from operations more than doubled to US$3.3 billion (2.8 billion euro) for Q2 2021 from the year-ago period.
Chief executive officer Claudio Descalzi attributed the results beating market expectations to “improved macro backdrop and energy market fundamentals.”
Rallying commodity prices helped Eni book strong earnings in the exploration and production (E&P) division, but in the downstream, the refining margins were extremely weak in the European and Mediterranean regions.
“These results, the progress on delivering our strategy, the outlook, and a Brent reference scenario of 65 $/bbl, have allowed us to increase our dividend back to pre-COVID levels at €0.86 per share, with 50% paid next September. We will also start a €400 million share buy-back program over the next 6 months,” CEO Descalzi said.
In the renewables business—on which Eni bets big to transform its operations and become a net-zero business—the company said it would exceed its 2021 installation target, reaching 2 gigawatts (GW) of installed and in-construction power capacity.
Eni expects its cash flow from operations before changes in working capital at replacement cost to exceed US$11.9 billion (10 billion euro) at a Brent price scenario of $65 a barrel and assuming a SERM benchmark refining margin slightly in negative territory.
Eni became the latest international oil major to announce a share buyback and/or a hike in dividends after posting solid Q2 results. Other European majors, such as Shell and TotalEnergies, also announced share buybacks this week after reporting significant growth in earnings for Q2 2021. Shell raised its dividend.
U.S. supermajor Chevron (NYSE: CVX) is also resuming share repurchases after reporting earnings above expectations for the second quarter on the back of rallying commodity prices.