BP's earnings were the strongest in five years, beating consensus estimates. Underlying replacement cost profits doubled to US$3.8 billion year-on-year. Swelling cash flow also prompted BP to fund the entire US$10.5 billion BHP deal in cash. The deal is set to close tomorrow, on 31 October. The company acknowledged that gearing could temporarily exceed its 20% to 30% range in early-to-mid 2019, but expects it to revert back "toward the middle of the band" by the end of next year.