Suncor doubles dividend, boosts stock buyback as oil rally gains steam

After slashing its dividend in half at the start of the pandemic, Canada’s largest integrated oil company is boosting its quarterly payout back to where it was before, after Suncor says it made more than $1 billion in profit during the quarter.

The Calgary-based company said after stock markets closed on Wednesday that it made an operating profit of $1.043 billion in the third quarter. That’s a reversal from a loss of $388 million in the same period last year.

While the company slashed expenses and made itself more efficient, much of that turnaround can be credited to the rebound in oil prices, which are more that twice as high today than they were a year ago.

After a lean year, the company is giving some of that cash windfall back to investors, by buying back 63 million of its own shares since the start of the year. That’s about 4 per cent of the float.

Suncor also said it would restore its dividend to 42 cents per share — up from the 21 cents it was cut to in May of 2020.

“Since the start of 2021, we have returned $2.6 billion to our shareholders through share repurchases and dividends and have reduced net debt by $3.1 billion,” CEO Mark Little said in a press release.

The company is going to buy back even more shares, too, up to seven per cent of the company.

“The acceleration of share repurchases, dividend increase and expected net debt reductions, compared to the company’s previously announced targets demonstrate the progress made during the year and management’s confidence in the company’s ability to generate cash flow and its commitment to increased shareholder returns,” Suncor said.

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