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BREAKING NEWS

Aker BP raises dividend while fourth-quarter profit lags forecast

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OSLO (Reuters) - Aker BP posted a smaller-than-expected increase in fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday and raised its dividend amid strong cash from output growth and higher oil price.

The Norwegian independent oil firm's earnings before interest and taxes rose to $403 million (£311.2 million) from $305 million (£235.5 million) in the same quarter a year ago, lagging the $491 million expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Aker BP, 30 percent owned by BP Plc, said it will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.5207 per share, more than the $0.38 anticipated by analysts.

In total, the company's so-called contingent oil and gas resources grew by 23 percent in 2018, it said in a statement.

The company said on Jan. 17 it planned to pay its shareholders a total of $750 million in 2019, up from $450 million in 2018.

It previously reported production in the fourth-quarter was at 155,700 barrels of oil equivalents (boe) per day, in line with the guidance.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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