BP Profit Growth Expected To Lag Rivals

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BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, is slated to report first-quarter results on Wednesday and analysts are expecting a profit of $5.7 billion, excluding one-time items. If the company meets that number, profit growth would be just 1% compared with the year-earlier period and substantially lag the expected profit growth at rival oil majors.

Exxon Mobil (XOM), the largest U.S. oil company, and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), Europe's largest oil company, are expected to show first-quarter profit growth of 59% and 22%, respectively. The slack profit growth for BP is made even more concerning by the fact that oil prices have been soaring in recent months.

BP's (BP) asset sales program, which the company announced following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year, has been helpful in steadying the company's balance sheet, but the asset sales are also seen as taking a toll on the company's output and therefore its bottom line.

BP's production is predicted to have fallen around 12% following the asset sales, according to Reuters. The company pledged to sell $30 billion in assets to raise cash for spill-related expenses and has thus far sold about $24 billion worth of assets.