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ExxonMobil has announced a dividend increase of 2.7 per cent for the second quarter of 2017, the slowest pace of growth for 15 years.
The increase in the quarterly dividend to 77 cents was less than analysts had expected, and is well below the 6.4 per cent average annual increase the company has reported over the past 34 years.
On average analysts predicted a 5.3 per cent increase in the payout to 79 cents for the quarter, according to Bloomberg.
The last time Exxon’s dividend grew at a slower rate was a 1.1 per cent rise in 2002, after several years of weak oil prices.
Exxon typically raises its dividend in the second quarter of the year, and then maintains that same level for the following three quarters.
The company reports earnings for the first quarter of 2017 on Friday, and is expected to show profits rebounding thanks to the upturn in oil and gas prices over the past 12 months.
The average of analysts’ forecasts is that earnings per share will double to 86 cents, but Exxon’s cash flows have been under pressure. Cash from operations was $22bn last year, the lowest level since 2002.