Activist fund urges BP to hit brakes on green energy
by AFP Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 29, 2024
Activist investment fund Bluebell Capital on Monday urged BP to scale back its “irrational” clean energy ambitions, one week before the British oil major’s annual results.
The fund wants BP “to adjust strategy” to abandon its medium-term emissions target linked to its use of products, in order “to retain flexibility on (hydrocarbon) production in line to demand”, Bluebell partner Giuseppe Bivona told AFP.
BP should “invest in clean energy” like biofuels and hydrogen, rather than areas where it has no competitive advantage or experience like renewable energy, he stated.
Bluebell did not however want the UK company to scrap its clean energy pledge, Bivona noted.
BP’s “irrational” strategy to switch away from its core business has sharply driven down its shares, the fund added in a letter to BP published by the Financial Times on Monday.
“In our view, BP is worth at least 50 percent more than the value currently expressed by BP’s stock price,” Bluebell wrote in the letter dated October 4.
“The discount is primarily due to an ill-conceived strategy aimed at drastically shrinking BP’s core business (oil and gas) on the one hand, and rapidly promoting a risky diversification into sectors with lower targeted returns and where BP has ‘no right to win’ on the other,” it added.
BP said in response that it “welcomed” engagement with shareholders.
“We have met with most of our major shareholders recently and continue to receive support for our strategy,” it said in a statement.
“We continue to make significant progress, remain focused on delivery, and are confident the strategy will grow the value of BP and deliver sustainable long-term value for shareholders.”
The group will publish fourth-quarter and annual earnings on February 6.
BP earlier this month named veteran employee Murray Auchincloss as chief executive following a period as interim boss in the wake of Bernard Looney’s sacking.
Auchincloss took the reins in September after Looney resigned and was later officially sacked over his failure to disclose past relationships with colleagues.