Exxon posts a revenue for the primary quarter.


A view of the Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baytown, Texas.

Jessica Rinaldi | Reuters

Exxon Mobil returned to profitability in the first quarter, beating estimates for the period as the company recovered from the chaos in the energy sector caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The oil giant earned $ 2.7 billion during the reporting period. The company had net earnings per share of 65 cents on sales of $ 59.15 billion. Wall Street analysts expected earnings of 59 cents per share on sales of 54.6 billion US dollars, according to Refinitiv estimates.

In the first quarter of last year, the company lost $ 610 million as the effects of the coronavirus began to weigh in. The company posted a loss of $ 20.1 billion for the fourth quarter in a row.

Exxon’s shares were unchanged during premarket trading on Friday.

“The strong first quarter results reflect the benefits of higher raw material prices and our focus on structural cost reduction while investing in assets with low delivery costs is a priority,” said Darren Woods, Exxon chairman and CEO, in a statement.

“Cash flow from operating activities fully covered dividend and capital investments for the quarter,” he added.

Exxon’s oil equivalent production increased 3% from the previous quarter to 3.8 million barrels per day. The company said the winter storm that struck the southern United States in Texas cost the company $ 600 million across its businesses.

Energy is the top performing S&P 500 sector this year, and Exxon shares are up 43% through 2021 by Thursday’s close of trading.

To counteract the lower oil prices last year, the company has taken aggressive cost-cutting measures. During the downturn, Exxon stuck to its dividend, which currently stands at 5.9%.

More recently, the company has come under pressure from shareholders to reorganize its board of directors. As a result, the company added three new board members, including well-known activist investor and ESG advocate Jeffrey Ubben.

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