BUSINESS

Lower production, weaker chemicals and refining lower Exxon Mobil 1Q profit

04/26/2012 08:52 EDT | Updated 06/26/2012 05:12 EDT
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Exxon Mobil's first-quarter net income dropped 11 per cent on lower production and weaker profits from its chemicals and U.S. refining businesses.

It was the first time the company reported a drop in quarterly profit since late 2009, when its refineries struggled with rising oil costs.

Exxon Mobil said Thursday it earned $9.45 billion, or $2 per share, in the first quarter, down from $10.7 billion, or $2.14, a year earlier. Revenue rose 8.8 per cent to $124.1 billion.

The results missed Wall Street expectations of $2.10 on revenue of $124.8 billion, according to FactSet.

America's largest energy company produced less oil and natural gas in the first three months of the year. Its fields aged and contracts with foreign governments limited the amount it could sell. Oil production slipped by 7.7 per cent. Natural gas production fell by 3.4 per cent.

Profits fell for its chemicals and U.S. refinery operations. But they rose for its international refinery business.

Exxon Mobil's stock price fell $1.19, or 1.4 per cent, to $85.66 in early trading.

But investors had some good news. Exxon said Wednesday it would increase its quarterly dividend by 21 per cent, making it the top corporate dividend payer. It's expected to pay shareholders $10.75 billion in dividends this year.