Thursday 2 May 2019 8:50 am

Shell ahead of expectations, but lower oil prices take chunk out of profits

Follow August Graham
Shell comfortably beat expectations this morning, as profits only fell marginally despite taking a hit from lower global oil prices.

The figures

The oil giant said that on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis, earnings attributable to shareholders and excluding identified items dropped to $5.3bn (£4.1bn).

Read more: BP profits drop as weaker oil prices squeeze margins

Basic earnings per share, on a CCS basis and without identified items, remained unchanged at $0.65, as was the dividend at $0.47.

Why it’s interesting

After poor performances by several international peers, analysts had worried that Shell’s figures would be equally disappointing.

The average realised price of oil fell five per cent from the first quarter of 2018, to $57.42, but was offset somewhat by gas prices, which increased eight per cent in the same period to $5.37 per thousand standard cubic feet.

Steve Clayton, the manager of a Hargreaves Lansdown fund, said that energy prices have affected Shell’s short-term results, but the company had managed to “grind out cash flow.”

“At first sight the numbers were pretty flat, but forecasts were for a much weaker outcome, so the market should be pleased with the results Shell’s delivered,” said Clayton, whose fund owns a position in Shell.

Shares in the company rose 1.05 per cent on the results to 2,454.5p.

What Shell said

Chief executive Ben van Beurden said his firm had made a “strong start” to the year.

Read more: Equinor joins Shell and BP on climate change after investor pressure

“The power of our brand, serving millions of customers every day, continues to be a differentiator. Our integrated value chain enabled our downstream business to deliver robust results despite challenging market conditions. The consistent financial performance across all our businesses provides confidence in meeting our 2020 outlook,” the Dutchman said.