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Oil giant Shell in surprise profit warning

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 07.56.54Shell has seen 3.9% wiped off its share price since markets opened a few minutes ago.

  • Shell Q4 2013 profits £2.9bn against £4bn expectations

  • ‘Not what I expect from Shell’ – chief executive Ben van Beurden

Jennifer Rankin:  theguardian.com, Friday 17 January 2014 08.19 GMT

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To start the day, we have a surprise profits warning from the world’s second largest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell. The company has said that its fourth quarter 2013 results are likely to be “significantly lower” than recent levels of profitability.

Earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 are expected to be $2.9 billion (£1.8bn), compared to analysts’ expectations of $4bn.

Shell is blaming “weak industry conditions in downstream oil products, higher exploration expenses and lower upstream volumes”.

‘Not good enough’ is the message from Ben van Beurden, Shell’s chief executive who took over two weeks ago.

Our 2013 performance was not what I expect from Shell. Our focus will be on improving Shell’s financial results, achieving better capital efficiency and on continuing to strengthen our operational performance and project delivery.

Although analysts are expecting UK markets to open up, Shell is the largest company on the FTSE 100, so could weigh the rest down.

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