Tony Haywire has decided to poke Washington in the eye with a sharp stick by forking out billions to BP shareholders. The oil giant's CEO is caught between American fury and plummeting share prices. Haywire, the munchkin now best known for spinning the most godawful nonsense about the Deepwater Horizon fiasco, intends to tell BP shareholders that he's sure the company can afford both the dividend and the fiscal whipping it faces in the US, estimated in the $20-60 billion dollar range. $60-billion? That might just be the sound of Haywire whistling past the graveyard.
According to The Guardian, BP and its dividends are simply too important to the "City" to pass up:
...BP's dividend is of crucial importance to the City and to the pensions of millions who depend on payouts from profitable companies to boost their retirement funds. Together with rival Shell, BP accounted for 25% of the total dividends of £50bn paid in the UK market last year. Any cut in the dividend could result in investors selling BP shares, further weakening the company, which has lost nearly 30% of its value since the disaster began.
The newspaper reports that British bookie, Paddy Power, is now offering even odds that Haywire will be gone from BP by the new year.
Anger at Britain's largest corporation is heating up in the United States with calls for the government to seize BP's American assets and some commentators predicting the company could face an operating ban in the US. There is a lot of speculation from many corners that BP may not survive the Deepwater Horizon debacle and is already a takeover target.