Feb 3, 2023
EMEA Earnings Week Ahead: Big Oil’s Windfall Dilemma
(Bloomberg) -- Earnings reports in Europe have been mixed so far this reporting season, with just 46% of companies surpassing expectations, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. That hasn’t halted the equities rally, which has taken its cue more from macroeconomic developments.
Europe’s mild winter may have calmed the worst fears about energy cost inflation, but there’s no question 2022 was a blowout year for oil and gas majors, as Shell Plc’s record-beating results on Thursday showed. The company rewarded shareholders with a 15% increase in the dividend and a $4 billion buyback.
As rivals BP Plc and TotalEnergies SE prepare to take up the baton this week, investor appetite for a share of the earnings windfall is voracious, even as criticism of Big Oil’s brimming coffers during a cost-of-living crisis grows. At the same time, the decline in commodity prices in the latter part of last year points to a sharp drop in profit in the fourth quarter, compared with the third.
Thus BP’s net income is estimated to have fallen about 40% sequentially, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Strong production, supported by the restart of its giant oil field Kashagan in the Caspian Sea, is expected to have helped TotalEnergies counter the broader price decline. For Norwegian peer Equinor ASA, the spotlight will be firmly fixed on its extraordinary dividend and 2023 buyback guidance.
Read More: Shell Finds That in Oil, Record Profit Isn’t Enough: Javier Blas
Read More: EU Energy Major Earnings Look Strong Despite Easing 4Q Backdrop
Outside of energy, Dutch payments firm Adyen NV will reveal how it performed amid a slowdown in consumer spending when it reports on Wednesday. Credit Suisse Group AG’s progress with a plan to spin off its dealmaking operations after a series of scandals and billions of losses will be in focus in an update on Thursday. Consumer goods giant Unilever Plc, preparing for new Chief Executive Officer Hein Schumacher to take the helm in July, is set to give its fourth-quarter update the same day.
Read More: Banks Haven’t Been This Overbought Since 1998: Taking Stock
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Monday: No major earnings of note.
Tuesday: BP (BP/ LN) is due to report fourth-quarter earnings at 7 a.m. London time. The decline in commodity prices and refining margin, combined with lower upstream production and marketing volume, likely contributed to a deceleration in profit, according to BI analyst Will Hares. While BP will probably follow peers and funnel part of its earnings back to shareholders, the amount may be more modest in scale, according to Hares. Also in focus will be the company’s progress with a strategy, unveiled a year ago, to speed up its push into renewables.
Wednesday: Equinor (EQNR NO), set to report around 06:45 a.m. CET, should post strong earnings and cash flow, despite the sharp decline in European gas prices during the fourth quarter, according to BI’s Hares. Adjusted net income is seen increasing slightly year-on-year, to $4.5 billion, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. A sequential drop is expected, however, as the record-setting third quarter was boosted by high volume and gas-field optimization. Still, the estimated production of 2.18 million barrels of oil equivalents per day “looks strong,” Hares said. With its balance sheet still robust, investors will also focus on Equinor’s payouts to shareholders. A fourth-quarter extraordinary dividend in line with prior quarters — around 50-70 cents per share — would be justified, BI said.
- TotalEnergies’ (TTE FP) fourth-quarter results are due at 8 a.m. CET in Paris. Earnings are likely to have decelerated from the previous quarter’s record highs, while strikes in France in the fall probably also contributed to lower downstream throughput and product sales, according to BI. TotalEnergies could see a 6% hit on adjusted earnings from UK and EU windfall taxes. Although adjusted net income is expected to jump 16% to almost $8 billion — year on year — that would mark a decline from the $9.9 billion the company reported for the three months through Sept. 30. TotalEnergies in December said it expected to record a $3.7 billion impairment in the fourth quarter after writing down the value of its stake in Russian gas producer Novatek PJSC. The company on Friday said its exposure to Adani Group companies was $3.1 billion of capital employed at the end of December.
Read More: Total Says Exposure to Adani Is $3.1 Billion of Capital Employed
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- Adyen (ADYEN NA) will report its second-half results at 7:30 a.m. CET. The key Ebitda margin metric is expected to remain around 60%, which is still 5% off its long-term goal, according to BI’s Mar’Yana Vartsaba and Jonathan Tyce. Analysts will also be seeking reassurance from any 2023 revenue growth forecast after a probable slowdown in discretionary consumer spending in the second half of 2022. CEO Pieter van der Does assured staff in a letter in October that the company wasn’t planning any headcount reductions as it advances with its “high-growth stage” and focuses on investments.
Thursday: Credit Suisse (CSGN SW), which has already guided for a loss of as much as 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion) in the fourth quarter, will provide a full set of results at 6:45 a.m. in Zurich. Investors’ eyes will be peeled for money flows in the key wealth management division following massive implied redemptions of about $88 billion late last year and after Chairman Axel Lehmann last month said assets were “slightly” coming back, according to BI’s Alison Williams and Neil Sipes. The bank is also expected to provide an update on the spinout of its capital markets, advisory and leveraged finance businesses and a plan to eliminate about 9,000 jobs by 2025. Shareholders — and debtholders — will welcome any upside surprise in the restructuring process, especially since a possible fine from US regulators over the collapse of Archegos Capital Management might mean Credit Suisse will need to boost its legal provisions, according to BI. Credit Suisse has stopped accepting bonds of Gautam Adani’s group of companies as collateral for margin loans to its private banking clients, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last week.
Read More: Credit Suisse’s Wealth Unit Halts Margin Loans on Adani Debt
- Unilever’s (ULVR LN) fourth-quarter results are due at 7 a.m. in London. The Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Dove soap maker is expected to deliver underlying sales growth of 9.2%, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The results will mark just the second time the company breaks down its performance into five divisions, after a restructuring last year led to ice cream, beauty and wellbeing, and personal care becoming independent units. Margin guidance for 2023 will be key, Bloomberg Intelligence’s Deborah Aitken said. Unilever, which gave activist investor Nelson Peltz a board seat last year, is weighing the sale of a portfolio of ice cream brands in the US that could be valued as high as $3 billion, people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg. It’s possible the company clips a strategy outlook as it awaits the arrival of its new CEO, BI said.
Friday: Norwegian oil and gas exploration and production company Aker BP ASA (AKRBP NO) is set to round off the week with a full earnings report before the market opens. That should provide investors with more color on its fourth-quarter operations after it presented slightly higher-than-expected oil equivalent production in a trading update in January. Those figures could point to a somewhat faster ramp-up of the Johan Sverdrup oil field’s second phase than analysts at DNB expected. They also indicate a strong overall performance across Aker’s portfolio, “especially in December,” they said.
--With assistance from Leonard Kehnscherper, Jenny Che, April Roach, Sarah Jacob, Tuhin Kar and Jonas Cho Walsgard.
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