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27.03.2020 14:46:00

Sorry, Chevron Shareholders, but That "Very Secure" Dividend May Not Be So Safe

The timing of the announcement couldn't have been any unluckier. In early March, before the novel coronavirus outbreak turned into a global pandemic and OPEC opted to keep pumping oil at its previous pace, crude prices were tepid but at least stable. Chevron (NYSE: CVX) had every reason to believe it would be able to fund up to $80 billion worth of dividends the company suggested were in store over the course of the coming five years. Since then, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil has fallen by more than $23 per barrel, to roughly $24. The price of Brent crude has slipped to a value of around $33. It's unlikely CEO Michael Wirth saw the world change as it has in just the past three weeks.To his and the company's credit, Wirth is backing off. Capital spending plans for this year have been reduced by 20% to reflect the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, and Chevron's stock buyback activities have been suspended. Still, he made clear in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday "our dividend is our number one priority and it's very secure."But, that doesn't necessarily mean the company can afford to pay it.Continue reading
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