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Shell announces record profits of £700 a second

Daily Telegraph

Shell has posted record profits of £22 billion for last year, equivalent to around £700 a second.

By David Millward, Transport Editor 
1 of 2 Companies

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Its results are believed to be the biggest ever profit recorded by any British or European company.

Despite the recession and the fall in oil prices, the company was able to earn around £700 a second for its shareholders because of the high cost of oil last summer.

While Shell hailed the figures, which represented a 14 per cent rise on the previous year, the profit triggered anger from the trade unions.

“Shell is still feasting while the rest of us face famine. Its profits are the biggest in UK history,” said Derek Simpson, Unite’s joint general secretary.

“A compelling case still remains for a windfall tax on the greedy energy companies. Working families are struggling in the face of the recession, the redistribution of windfall profits would help support Britain through these difficult times.”

The key to the Anglo-Dutch company’s profits were soaring oil prices, which in July hit $147 a barrel.

This insulated Shell once oil prices began falling dramatically in the second half of the year. But even in the final three months the company still made £3.4 billion in profit.

According to the AA the profit made by Shell approaches the amount of money the Treasury raises from Britain’s 30 million drivers in taxes.

But at the same time the motoring organisation absolved Shell from exploiting motorists’ misery earlier in the year.

“Their price record at the pumps was the best of any oil giant, only supermarkets were cheaper,” said a spokesman.

The oil giant also insisted that it had not cashed in at motorists’ expense at its 900 forecourts.

“Shell offers on average the cheapest fuel in the UK compared to other oil majors,” a spokesman said.

“Fuel retailing in the UK is a high volume, low margin business, but despite this Shell maintains competitively priced fuels across our network.”

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