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Oil firm Aker BP to raise dividend in H2 after upbeat quarterly results

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) -Norwegian oil company Aker BP posted upbeat second-quarter results on Wednesday and said it will raise its dividend payments in the second half of the year, as it continued to benefit from high oil and gas prices due to the war in Ukraine.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for April-June rose to $1.75 billion from $855 million a year ago, it said, just short of record $1.78 billion earnings it posted in the first quarter.

Last month, Aker BP closed its deal to acquire Norwegian assets of Sweden's Lundin Energy in a cash-and-stock deal, making it the second-largest listed oil firm in Norway after state-controlled Equinor.

"High oil and gas prices have contributed to strong cash flow, allowing us to complete the Lundin transaction without adding new debt while our credit ratings have been upgraded," Chief Executive Officer Karl Johnny Hersvik said in a statement.

"Consequently, we are now able to further increase the dividend level."

In the second half of 2022, Aker BP will offer quarterly dividends of $0.525 per share, equivalent to an annualised level of $2.1 per share, up from earlier plans to pay $1.9 apiece for the full year in four quarterly instalments.

Energy companies worldwide have benefited from surging oil and gas prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

With Europe covering about 40% of its gas needs with Russian supplies before the Feb. 24 invasion, importing nations have been scrambling to cut their dependence on Moscow and secure alternative supplies.

Norway, Europe's second-largest energy supplier after Russia, has benefited as it is seen as a reliable supplier.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)