News Column

Energy Shell plans to buy back shares as profits double

August 1, 2014

Terry Macalister

Shell has committed itself to spending over $30bn (pounds 17.7bn) on buying back its shares and handing out higher dividends over two years.

The promise came as the Anglo-Dutch energy group more than doubled second-quarter profits to $5.1bn as measured on a current cost of supplies basis, which strips out fluctuations in oil and gas prices.

The company has taken advantage of high oil prices and a better performance, but took another near-$1bn in writedowns for US operations that have fallen in value.

These are believed to cover shale gas assets, some of which are being sold, along with other poor-value fields in Australia, Canada and Brazil.

Ben van Beurden, the new chief executive, said Shell had already started to improve under his watch and had "huge potential" for growth. "We are making progress with the priorities I set out at the start of 2014: to balance growth and returns by focusing on better financial performance, enhanced capital efficiency, and continued strong project delivery," he explained.

And he said the company would be increasing the payout to investors by 4% in the second quarter just ended. "We are expecting some $7bn-$8bn of share buybacks for 2014 and 2015 combined, of which $1.6bn were completed in the first half of this year. Terry Macalister

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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