Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

BG Fourth-Quarter Profit Declines 54%, Beating Analyst Estimates

BG Group Plc, the U.K. energy company being acquired by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said fourth-quarter profit dropped 54 percent following oil’s decline.

Adjusted net income fell to $423 million from $915 million a year earlier, Reading, England-based BG said Friday in a statement. That beat the $347.3 million average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Oil’s collapse has affected BG less than some of its peers because it’s one of the few producers increasing output as projects start in Australia and Brazil. That’s a top attraction for Shell, keen to boost its own reserves, production and cash flow to maintain a dividend that’s been intact since at least the end of the Second World War.

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“The addition of new low cash-cost volumes in Brazil and Australia and delivery of our operating and capital cost savings has helped to partly mitigate the impact of lower commodity prices,” Chief Executive Officer Helge Lund said in a statement.

Shareholders of both companies approved the deal last month and the transaction is expected to close Feb. 15. BG’s shares will trade for the last time on Feb. 12.

The stock has advanced 7.4 percent this year, adding to last year’s 14 percent gain. When Shell announced the deal in April, it offered a 50 percent premium. 

BG’s oil and gas production was higher than forecast last year, the company said in preliminary earnings on Jan. 20.

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