UK oil giant BP is set to receive a massive $610 million windfall after directors at its Russian joint-venture company TNK-BP agreed a $1.25 billion special dividend for performance in the first half of the year. At one point it was thought the payment would not be made because of an ongoing legal dispute between BP and a number of high-profile investors over a collapsed merger deal with another Russian energy outfit, Rosneft.
BP's Russian operation is facing a number of litigation battles, including an arbitration case brought against it by the investment vehicle Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR). It is also being sued for damages of up to $4.9 billion by minority owners of TNK-BP who claim they lost money as a result of the BP's aborted Rosneft tie-up.
The payment comes as Tony Hayward, the BP chief executive who came under sustained criticism for his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, finally announced his resignation from the executive board. It has been reported that the company has already identified several potential replacements for Mr Hayward from within the internal career structure.