The New Zealand division of British Petroleum, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, more than tripled net profit in 2015 even as revenue fell, joining the country's major petrol chains in fattening margins due to plunging oil prices.
BP New Zealand lifted net profit to $128 million in calendar 2015 from $30.3 million a year earlier, even as revenue fell 15 percent to $2.7 billion, financial statements lodged with the Companies Office show. BP's cost of sales fell 23 per cent to $2.2 billion, a bigger decline than revenue.
The New Zealand unit of BP is the fourth of the major petrol chains to lodge its statements, and shows revenue across the service station operators dropped to $9.5 billion from $11.4 billion a year earlier while reported net profit rose to $301 million from $47.1 million as cheaper oil allowed the companies to widen their margins. Chevron New Zealand and ExxonMobil NZ also reported for the year ended December 31 while Z Energy's annual reporting was to March 31, 2016.
BP New Zealand paid $300 million in dividends to its two shareholders, the biggest being BP Asia Pacific Holdings, its parent company which owns all but one of the 33.5 million shares issued according to Companies Office records.
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That single share is owned by Kenilworth Oil Company, another BP entity based in the United Kingdom. The petrol station chain didn't pay a dividend in 2014.
The New Zealand entity's tax expense was $36.7 million in tax in 2015, up from $5.7 million a year earlier. The tax calculated on its profit before tax of $165 million was $46.2 million, but this was reduced after adjustments for prior years and tax offsets for imputed dividends.
BP's London-listed shares recently traded at 374.15 British pence and have gained 5.4 per cent this year.