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Hurricanes and oil prices blow a hole in BP income

BP HAS posted a dramatic drop in net income after being buffeted by a combination of low oil prices and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil giant said its underlying replacement cost profit — the term it uses for net income — fell to £1.8billion ($2.3billion) in the third quarter of the year, 40 per cent below last year’s comparable figure.

But it was still considerably better than analysts predicted as its refineries outperformed. Estimates compiled by BP calculated the figure at £1.3billion.

‘BP delivered strong operating cash flow and underlying earnings in a quarter that saw lower oil and gas prices and significant hurricane impacts,’ said outgoing chief executive Bob Dudley.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: ‘Today’s third quarter numbers weren’t expected to come in close to the levels seen in the second quarter given the decline in oil prices seen since then. However, they still show a company that is nimbler and more efficient than it was a decade ago.’

Hurricane Barry shut down oil fields in July, cutting oil and gas production by 2.5 per cent. In August, BP sold its Alaskan operations to Hilcorp but a sting in the tail came as the company was forced to write off £2billion as a result of tax charges.

SHARES in Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco will be traded from December, according to the Al-Arabiya satellite news channel. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hopes for a £1.5trillion valuation for Aramco, raising £78million to redevelop the country. But energy prices are down and questions remain about how the much-delayed listing will be handled. State officials and media did not confirm the report.

Curry in a hurry! £300k raised in 5 hours for vegan restaurant

Tasting success: SpiceBox founder Grace Regan PICTURE: TRIANGLE

THE founder of a vegan Indian restaurant launched a crowdfunding appeal to open her second — and raised £300,000 in just five hours.

SpiceBox — which serves plant-based versions of ‘classics’ such as chicken tikka masala — will also release its own recipe book and could soon be selling its dishes in supermarkets.

Owner Grace Regan, 29, said she hoped it showed meat eaters that vegan food ‘isn’t as scary and tasteless as people think’.

First: Restaurant in east London PICTURE: TRIANGLE

Ms Regan got her first taste of Indian food while travelling around the country. In 2015, she moved to California and got swept up in the vegan movement.

She returned to Britain and started cooking vegan curries at her flat. ‘We got a table made to fit in my front door, and neighbours started coming round to get takeaways,’ she said She then got a truck and began touring festivals.

Her first restaurant opened in January in Walthamstow, north-east London. Dishes include Jackfruit Jalfrezi, Shroom Keema and Chick’n Tikka Masala. She plans to open her second outside the capital.

Gender pay gap wider for full-time workers

THE gender pay gap for full-time workers has risen but is still close to the smallest on record, official figures say.

Men in full-time employment were paid 8.9 per cent more than women this year, said the Office for National Statistics.

The figure compares with 8.6 per cent last year — the lowest since records began in 1997, when it stood at 17.4 per cent.

For full-timers under 40, the pay gap is now ‘close to zero’.

Median weekly earnings for full-time staff rose 2.9 per cent to £585 from last year. After inflation is taken into account, the increase is 0.9 per cent.

BUSINESS BITES

■ PUBLISHER Bloomsbury is hoping an illustrated Harry Potter edition and chef Tom Kerridge’s latest book will turn the page on a weak start to 2019. Its half-year pre-tax profits fell almost a fifth to £1.3million.

■ ASDA is to lift workers’ hourly pay to £9.18 from next April, with £10.31 in London. The basic rate in April this year was £8.21. Unions are in dispute over a contract they fear will cut paid breaks and force bank holiday work.

■ OUR thirst for Aperol Spritz and Negroni cocktails boosted Campari Group sales by 6.9 per cent to £1.15billion. The Italian spirit giant’s UK sales in the three months to September fizzed up by 27 per cent.

■ SERCO’S chief auditor during the scandal that saw it claim payment for electronic tagging of dead criminals has been fined £78,000. The Financial Reporting Council said Ross Howard failed to show ‘professional scepticism’.

■ TESCO is launching a paid loyalty scheme offering discounted food shops, doubled phone data and no foreign exchange fees for using a card abroad. Clubcard Plus launches on November 8 for £7.99 a month.