Shell raises dividend for second time in six months after first-quarter earnings beat forecasts

Energy

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A logo at a Royal Dutch Shell Plc gas station in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
Peter Boer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday reported marginally better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, amid stronger commodity prices and growing expectations of a fuel demand recovery.

It comes as energy majors seek to reassure investors that they have gained a more stable footing in recent months.

The Anglo-Dutch company reported adjusted earnings of $3.2 billion for the three months through to the end of March. That compared with $2.9 billion over the same period a year earlier and adjusted earnings of $393 million for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Analysts had expected first-quarter net profit to come in at $3.1 billion, according to Refinitiv.

In an earnings update published April 7, Shell warned first-quarter adjusted earnings would likely be adversely impacted by up to $200 million, citing the massive winter storm that engulfed Texas in February.

Shares of Shell are up more than 9% year-to-date, having tumbled nearly 40% in 2020.

The oil and gas industry was sent into a tailspin last year as the coronavirus pandemic coincided with a historic fuel demand shock, plunging commodity prices, unprecedented write-downs and tens of thousands of job cuts.

Earlier this week, British oil major BP reported that first-quarter net profit had more than tripled, largely driven by “exceptional” gas marketing and trading performance, and stronger commodity prices. It paved the way for the energy company to announce plans to start buying back shares.

Oil prices have climbed around 30% since the start of the year as expectations of a demand recovery appear to have offset concerns about the impact of rising Covid-19 infections.

International benchmark Brent crude futures traded at $67.66 a barrel on Thursday morning, up around 0.6% for the session, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $64.24, more than 0.5% higher.

OPEC and non-OPEC allies, an influential producer group sometimes referred to as OPEC+, reaffirmed improving market sentiment this week when it announced plans to stick to a phased easing of supply curbs in the coming months.

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