May 1, 2012 / 12:48 PM / 5 years ago

Suncor profit tops expectations; dividend raised

May 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s largest oil producer and refiner, Suncor Energy, posted higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings and raised its dividend.

Weaker production volumes and higher royalties sent operating profit down 10 percent to C$1.33 billion, or 85 Canadian cents per share. But the per-share results topped analysts’ average forecast by 4 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Year-earlier operating profit was C$1.48 billion, or 94 Canadian cents.

The company late on Monday also announced an 18 percent increase in its quarterly dividend, to 13 Canadian cents a share from 11 Canadian cents.

Cash flow, a key indicator of the company’s ability to fund new projects, rose 1.4 percent in the quarter to C$2.43 billion, or C$1.55 per share, from C$2.39 billion, or C$1.52, a year earlier.

Net income rose to C$1.46 billion, or 93 Canadian cents, from C$1.03 billion, or 65 Canadian cents, a year earlier, lifted by higher average oil prices.

Suncor, the dominant producer in the tar sands of northern Alberta, said its upstream production fell 6.5 percent to average 562,300 barrels per day in the quarter.

The company said its dividend is payable June 25 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 4.

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