Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BP (NYSE:BP) Dividend Wasn't Dropped because of US Influence Says Hayward

In what may of been the cause of the most intense strain between the Obama administration and the UK during the BP oil spill - the dropping of the dividend - outgoing CEO Tony Hayward was pressed by UK lawmakers if the decision to suspend the dividend came because of pressure from the U.S.

Hayward said that wasn't the case, saying the “decision to suspend the dividend was taken by the board,” adding it was “taken in the interest of preserving the financial strength of BP and in the interests of shareholders.”

It caused an outcry by shareholder in the UK, whose holdings in BP were the largest in relationship to their pensions. Just about as many in the U.S. also counted on the share value and dividends in BP, which resulted in lawsuits from some U.S. pensions.

Committee Chairman Tim Yeo said before the hearing that he wanted to find out if there was more political risk by continuing operations in the U.S. He added in a phone interview yesterday that the U.S. had partaken in a "bit of a witch hunt" toward the oil giant.

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