Exxon Mobil posts first annual loss in 40 years

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Top U.S. oil producer Exxon Mobil on Tuesday posted its first annual loss as a public company as the COVID-19 pandemic hammered energy prices and it reduced the value of its shale gas properties by more than $20 billion in the fourth quarter.

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Exxon cut up to 15% of its workforce and delayed oil and gas projects after accepting oil prices could remain below $60 a barrel for years. It added $22 billion to its debt last year to cover its dividend and project spending.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
XOMEXXON MOBIL CORPORATION45.80+0.88+1.96%
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The company reported a net annual loss of $22.44 billion for 2020, compared with a full-year profit of $14.34 billion in 2019.

Exxon posted four straight quarters of losses in 2020 and is under fire from activist investors pushing for board changes and a better strategy for a global transition to cleaner fuels.

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On Tuesday it named former Petronas President Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin to its board of directors, and said it was in discussions with other candidates.

Exxon Mobil (Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Exxon shares rose 2.3% to about $46 in pre-market trading.

Other oil majors are also under pressure as pandemic-related travel restrictions cloud fuel demand and spur cost-cutting at energy firms.

Rival BP plunged to its first annual loss in a decade on Tuesday while Chevron on Friday fell to the first annual loss since 2016.

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Royal Dutch Shell reports financial results Thursday and Total SA reports next week.

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