I don't know much about oil companies, I watch financial mainly and primarily banks and brokerage, but this story is really at the forefront of news now. As far as companies no longer being too big to fail (i.e. Lehman, Enron, or even the mighty Goldman), I just wonder about BP'S ability to keep this up much longer. This disaster and the planet clean up is turning almost biblical in size.
As the previous poster had said, they have a solid cash flow, as well as investment income. If, as you say the clean-up costs will be 40 billion (though not even the most knowledgeable scientists would even dare to estimate costs at this point), it won't come due tomorrow, but will be paid out over 10 - 20 years. That works out to about 3 billion a year. Only morons, who have no understanding of the tort system in the US would believe that an enormously wealthy, politically connected, and legally well-represented company would go bankrupt. They will pay, but it will be a manageable amount for the companies finances, otherwise, what good would it do to force them into bankruptcy? It would be like killing the golden goose, in that they may force them into bankruptcy, and force a sale of all assets, but it won't scratch the surface over what they could get the company to pay out over 10 - 20 years. As an aside, BP is now, virtually, going to open a subsidiary organization to remediate this mess, and guess who will be getting a large portion of that 40 billion they are forced to pay out? Big companies never lose, they are far more nimble than government lawyers could ever hope to be.
Further more, most executives have millions tied up in their company stock while only being able sell on scheduled dates way in advance. They will be loosing more then almost every investor out there.
Why shouldn't the executives retire with $millions? They are a smart hard working bunch that did more then you or I could have. You don't become an executive of a company like BP for being an idiot. Accidents happen & will cost the company, not the worker.
this will be the fastest downturn in a company you will ever see and rightly so! When the next attempt to seal this oil leak fails, what do you think the pps will do? Make you wonder who is buying??? Think about it.
same thing was said about tobacco when they got sued for billions. it didn't stop them from selling billions more and making a huge profit for the people who didn't panic at the bottom