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Exxon posts its highest quarterly revenue in years, however gross sales disappoint

A logo of Exxon Mobil Corp can be seen at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 24, 2018.

Sergio Moraes | Reuters

Exxon said Friday that its third quarter profit was its highest in years as improved demand, higher commodity prices, and streamlined operations improved results.

The company earned $ 1.58 per share on an adjusted basis for the period, which was above the $ 1.56 survey polled by Refinitiv. Revenue was $ 73.79 billion, less than the $ 76.34 billion the Street was expecting.

"All three of our core businesses posted positive earnings for the quarter, with strong operational and cost controls, and increased sales and demand for fuels," said Darren Woods, Exxon chairman and CEO, in a statement.

The EPS of $ 1.58 is the largest adjusted quarterly gain since 2014, according to FactSet.

Exxon said its cash flow from operating activities reached $ 12.1 billion and funded capital investments, deleveraging and dividends. Earlier this week, the company announced its first split raise in more than two years.

The oil giant announced on Friday that it plans to launch a share buyback program of up to $ 10 billion over the next 12 to 24 months from 2022.

As Exxon and the energy industry generally recovered from the coronavirus pandemic and the associated destruction of demand, shareholders demanded capital discipline. Exxon has implemented aggressive cost-cutting measures, and the company expects its capital program to be near the lower end of the $ 16-19 billion range outlined earlier in 2021.

The company's third quarter results also speak in favor of Exxon's continued recovery from the pandemic. In the second quarter, the company had $ 1.10 per share on sales of $ 67.74 billion.

Exxon's revenue grew nearly 60% year over year. In the third quarter of 2020, Exxon lost 18 cents per share on an adjusted basis and had revenue of $ 46.2 billion.

In the most recent quarter, Exxon spent $ 3.9 billion on capital and exploration productions, with oil equivalent production being 3.7 million barrels per day.

Exxon's shares rose less than 1% on Friday lunchtime. For the year, the stock is up 56%, more or less in line with the S&P energy sector's return of 53%.

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