As many Fools will agree, persistence is a quality that the world values very highly. In fact, it is nigh-on a pre-requisite for success in almost any undertaking, with the vast majority (if not all) great accomplishments and fortunes having their roots firmly in the adoption of persistence by the individual or group in pursuit of such goals.
Indeed, as James Whitcomb Riley wrote: “Continuous, unflagging effort, persistence and determination will win. Let not the man be discouraged who has these.”
So, it is clear that persistence is a highly attractive quality in a business or individual.
This brings me neatly on to the topic of BP (LSE: BP) (NYSE: BP.US), which is showing a tremendous amount of persistence regarding the payouts from its Deepwater Horizon tragedy.
The company is now asking a Federal Judge to halt compensation payments it agreed last year as they were overly generous and there are, allegedly, a large number of bogus claims.
Furthermore, BP says it has evidence of misconduct and has asked for a temporary pause in payments pending an investigation into such allegations. BP says the claims administrator’s interpretation of the deal has led to ‘absurd’ payments to people and businesses who were not affected by the spill.
Of course, BP had a previous request to suspend payments rejected but now claims to have evidence of ‘systematic problems’, and it is this persistence with which the company is fighting its corner that makes me, as a shareholder, upbeat about the long-term prospects of the company.
Certainly, it is in a tight spot at the moment but, with a yield of 4.7% and trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 7.3, a worst- case scenario seems to have been built into the share price. Indeed, shares look even cheaper when you look at the P/E of the FTSE 100 at 15.1 and the oil and gas sector at 12.6.
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> Peter owns shares in BP.