Energy giant BG Group has welcomed in the new year with a cheque for £225million from the Egyptian government, part of the country's ongoing quest to clear its debts to the energy industry.
The payment comes after 12 months of trouble for the Reading-based firm, which has seen controversies over the pay plan for its incoming chief executive Helge Lund, plunging oil prices and outstanding debts with Egypt.
Egypt's repayment had provided a small boost to the company on the first day of trading on the stock market for 2015, but by lunchtime BG shares had sunk back 7.7p to 857.3p reflecting a retreat by the FTSE 100 index and a lower oil price.
Facing continued difficulties operating in Egypt, BG Group slashed its production targets last year, with the firm saying too much of its gas was being diverted into Egypt's domestic market instead of being made available for exports.
In November, BG reported a 29 per cent fall in its third-quarter earnings to £759million.
Overall in 2014, the company saw 33 per cent wiped of the value of its shares, hit by plummeting oil prices and a controversy over the pay packet for its new chief executive Helge Lund.
Last month, BG sidestepped a potential shareholder revolt over a £15million 'golden hello' for Mr Lund by announcing a revised package.
He will now receive total awards worth up to £14million, but under more stringent performance criteria than initially envisaged. The awards will add to his annual £14million pay package. BG Group has also been hit hard by tumbling oil prices, which has seen the prove of Brent crude halve since last summer to less than $60 a barrel.
Brent crude prices fell again today, dipping back below $56 a barrel.
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