Royal Dutch Shell Plc is on the verge of breaching “comfortable” levels of debt as low crude prices force Europe’s largest oil company to borrow more.
Net debt increased to a record $75 billion at the end of June from $70 billion three months earlier, Shell said Thursday as it reported a slump in second-quarter earnings. Additional borrowing drove up the ratio of net debt to capital, or gearing, to 28.1 percent — more than double the year-earlier level.
“We’re close to the maximum level and it could go up still with the oil price where it is,” Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said on a conference call. “Thirty percent is an upper limit to where we can describe our position as comfortable.”