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Oil companies cutting dividends to preserve cash

Shareholders estimated to lose more than US$7.4b in income this year; quarterly payments unlikely to be restored any time soon even if energy prices rebound

New York

Bludgeoned by falling energy prices, at least a dozen oil and natural gas companies have opted to cut dividends this year to preserve cash, cannibalising payouts considered sacrosanct by many investors.

The cost to shareholders: more than US$7.4 billion in lost income, compared to what they would have received this year if the payouts remained the same.

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