Shareholders of BP breathed a partial sigh of relief on Tuesday at the news that the embattled oil company will pay out $2.63 billion in dividends for the first quarter of 2010. The bad news for BP investors? Rising political pressure and public outrage are making a second quarter payout far from certain.
Despite mounting clean up costs for the Gulf oil spill, and a plummeting stock value, the company says it is on track to pay nearly $10.5 billion in dividends to its shareholders in 2010. That figure is slightly higher than the $10 billion it paid out in 2008 and 2009.
In Washington, members of Congress, including New York Senator Charles Schumer, had urged BP to forego paying out a dividend until the company figured out a way to stop the oil from flowing at its ill-fated Deepwater Horizon well, and fully paid for all necessary clean up.
President Obama himself weighed in on the dividend question last week when he visited the Gulf region.
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