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Equinor suspends $5 bln share buyback due virus outbreak, oil crash

By Gwladys Fouche
FILE PHOTO: Equinor's logo is seen next to the company's headquarters in Stavanger

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's Equinor <EQNR.OL> has suspended its ongoing $5 billion share buyback programme due to the coronavirus outbreak and the crash in oil prices, the company said on Sunday.

The European oil major was planning to execute the second tranche of its plan - worth $675 million when including the Norwegian state's share - between May 18 and Oct. 28.

The overall programme was due to run until 2022.

"Equinor is under the current market conditions suspending buy-back under the share buy-back programme until further notice," it said in a statement.

Equinor also said it was implementing measures to reduce operating costs, capital expenditure and exploration spending. On March 17, it had said it was "reviewing" its spending plans.

"An updated outlook is expected to be presented to the market by the end of March 2020," Equinor said on Sunday.

Equinor is the latest oil company to announce cutbacks to cope with the coronavirus outbreak and the fall in crude prices, with Brent <LCOc1> closing at $26.98 on Friday, down around 50% from early March.

(Editing by Terje Solsvik)