Exxon results show significant turnaround

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Exxon Mobil is moving its headquarters.

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Exxon Mobil

on Tuesday posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and announced a $10 billion share buyback plan after paying off nearly all of the debt incurred during the height of the pandemic. The quarter caps a remarkable turnaround for the oil giant, which was dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2020 and was briefly said to be in merger talks with


Chevron

(CLC).

Exxon (ticker: XOM) reported revenue of $85 billion and earned $8.8 billion adjusted, or $2.05 per share. Revenues met expectations and profits exceeded them. Analysts had forecast earnings of $8.2 billion, or $1.94 per share.

The shares rose 0.6% in premarket trading. They have already increased by 20% this year.

Exxon announced several changes in recent months intended to show progress in adapting to climate change, though critics said it wasn’t enough.

The latest move came on Monday when the company announced it would spin its low-carbon solutions business into its own division, restructure its refining and chemicals business and relocate its headquarters. The changes may not have a major operational impact on the company, but they elevate corporate climate initiatives and will likely result in substantial cost reductions. Exxon is also moving its headquarters to Houston from Irving, near Dallas. Much of the company’s employees are already in Houston, but senior executives are currently in Irving.

Exxon’s move to elevate low-carbon solutions, an area where it plans to spend $15 billion through 2027, to its own reportable division could be a sign that it’s more serious about spending more. money to fight climate change. It also means that investors could start judging the company on these results in the same way it looks at its production and refining results.

Write to Avi Salzman at avi.salzman@barrons.com