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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Exxon disappoints with slashed profits
Esso petrol station
Exxon runs the Esso chain of petrol stations
Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest oil company, has suffered a 41% drop in profits, in a disappointing performance for the second quarter.

Reporting its results, the company said that its net income had plunged to $2.6bn from $4.5bn in the same period a year earlier.

Exxon Mobil's Chairman Lee Raymond
Raymond blamed the low price of oil
A slump in Exxon's oil refining business - where profits fell from $1.3bn to a mere $382m - took the shine off the company's results.

Profits from producing petrol, heating fuel and jet fuel were depleted by a downturn in air travel after the attacks of 11 September and the general economic slowdown.

"The reduction in earnings reflected weakened conditions in most business segments," said ExxonMobil's chairman Lee Raymond.

He listed as those segments lower price levels of crude oil and natural gas, "significantly weaker" refining margins and adverse foreign exchange effects.

During the second quarter of this year, the average price of natural gas was down 22% on last year.

Tough climate

Other oil companies, such as BP and Shell, have also seen their profits hit by the low price of gas and poor performances from their refining businesses.

Exxon's disappointing results were worse than analysts had predicted and marked the fourth consecutive quarter of decline for the oil company.

Analysts had forecast profits of between 41 cents and 56 cents a share. In fact the second-quarter profits worked out as 39 cents a share.

Overall revenue came out at $50.9bn, down from $56.2bn in the second quarter of last year.

The oil company's brands include the petrol station chain, Esso, the convenience store group, On the Run, and Mobil oil products.

Analysis of the oil market, OPEC, and the alternatives

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Analysis

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See also:

01 Aug 02 | Business
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