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Shell shareholders miss out on payday under weight of $74bn debt mountain The oil giant has promised more cash for investors – but not until debt has fallen to $65bn (£47bn)

Shell shareholders miss out on payday under weight of $74bn debt mountain  

The oil giant has promised more cash for investors – but not until debt has fallen to $65bn (£47bn)

Shell shareholders are to be kept waiting for higher dividend payouts as the oil giant labours under a massive debt pile.

The Anglo-Dutch company has pledged to distribute up to 30pc of cash flow to shareholders as soon as its debts come down to $65bn (£47bn), as it tries to keep investors on board while it moves towards lower carbon energy.

However analysts at Citi expect Shell’s debts to have fallen by less than $2bn to about $74bn when its reports quarterly results on Thursday. Citi said Shell was “still a way from the $65bn needed to trigger higher capital returns”.

The sum is in part a legacy of its $50bn takeover of rival BG Group in 2016, which has been a major boost to the company but pushed debts up to $80bn that year, prompting a $30bn asset sale. Debt is becoming more problematic at a time when the value of assets can plunge due to volatile oil prices.

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