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Cenovus suspends dividend to conserve cash amid oil price rout

Cenovus Energy Inc. is temporarily suspending its dividend and cutting its capital spending plan by an additional $150 million on top of a reduction announced last month.

The company says the additional steps are in response to the low global oil price environment that it expects to continue for an unknown period. It had paid a quarterly dividend of 6.25 cents per share.

The cut to its capital spending plan comes on top of a $450-million reduction made on March 9. Cenovus now expects to spend between $750 million and $850 million this year.

The company is also forecasting operating cost reductions of about $100 million and reduction to general and administrative costs of about $50 million compared with its December budget.

The company is rolling back salaries across the company, effective May 1. President and chief executive Alex Pourbaix will have his annual base salary reduced by 25 per cent, while other executive team members will take a 15 per cent reduction and vice-presidents and their equivalents in technical positions will receive a 12 per cent cut. Employees at other levels will also see a smaller graduated salary impact.

Board members will have their compensation reduced by 25 per cent.

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