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Shell disappoints as profits fall

26 July 2012

Falling energy prices have left its mark on Royal Dutch Shell after a weaker-than-expected profits performance drove a big fall in its share price.

While chief executive Peter Voser insisted the Anglo-Dutch company was “moving forward in volatile times”, Shell’s second quarter profits of 5.7 billion US dollars (£3.7 billion) were down 13% and below City hopes.

Shell increased upstream production by 4% to 3.1 million barrels a day in the quarter – driven by improved output of natural gas – but this was more than offset by the drop in global energy prices in the period.

Mr Voser said: “Our profits have fallen with energy prices, but our growth strategy is delivering to the bottom line.”

Shell has sold assets in recent years as it looks to improve financial headroom for projects with greater growth potential.

Capital investment in the second quarter was 8.1 billion US dollars (£5.2 billion) and the company remains on track to spend 32 billion US dollars (£20.6 billion) this year.

Mr Voser said more than 20 construction projects were under construction and that Shell wanted leadership positions in the areas where it chooses to invest.

Despite the comments, shares fell by 4% and dragged rival BP lower ahead of its own figures next week.

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: “A drop in earnings had been expected, but not to this extent as evidenced by the share price fall.

“At a time when investors are looking towards blue-chip reliability, the disappointment contained in the headline figures is palpable. Nonetheless, on a longer term view, there still seems much to go for.”

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