By Roland Head – Wednesday, 17 August, 2016
Oil and gas giants Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB) and (LSE: BP) have been among the top performers in the FTSE 100 so far this year. Shell stock is worth 31% more than at the start of January, while BP is up 23%.
But these gains don’t seem to reflect the weak state of the oil market or both companies’ rapidly-growing debt piles. Are investors turning a blind eye to the risk of a dividend cut in pursuit of the 7% yields available on both stocks?
Cash flow problems at Shell?
Shell’s interim results showed that the firm’s net debt has rocketed from $25.9bn one year ago to $75.1bn today. Much of this is due to the BG acquisition. I expect Shell to be able to refinance a lot of BG’s debt at much lower interest rates than those paid by BG.