Exxon Mobil Corporation
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Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) is a global oil and natural gas producer which operates more than 23,000 wells with proven reserves of over 22 billion barrels. XOM is among the 10th-largest oil and gas companies by revenues and is the largest U.S.-based fossil fuel producer. The company traces its history to the formation of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio by John D. Rockefeller in 1870.
The past year has been challenging for the oil industry. Rising concerns over the role of carbon emissions in climate change have caused shareholders to reconsider buying fossil fuel producers. In December of 2020, New York’s state pension fund announced it would divest. The move by environmentally focused investors to sell their stakes has come at a particularly bad time for the company. Consensus analyst forecasts call for a per share loss of -$0.34 for fiscal 2020 after a decline in revenues of more than 30%.
After a decline of more than 50% during the market panic during the first quarter of 2020, XOM continued to pay a dividend of $3.48 per share. Keeping up these payments to shareholders has been difficult as low oil costs caused by Covid-19 demand disruptions and a supply glut weighed heavily on XOM’s cash flow in 2020.
Taking advantage of ultra-low interest rates and investor appetite for yield, the beleaguered oil company borrowed heavily: debt levels hit $69 billion by the end of 2020.
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