Shell profit slumps by 71% on Covid-19 downturn

Photo: Shell Ben van Beurden

The oil giant Royal Dutch Shell announced financial results which are the worst in more than 20 years, Reuters reported. The company attributed the negative results to the Covid-19 driven global slowdown in world economy, transport and travel restriction due to lockdowns and low oil prices. Shell however vowed to raise its dividends.

The 2020 earnings are down by 71% to$4,8bn touching lowest levels posted in 2000. Shell’s debt-to-equity ratio rose throughout the year but the oil company was able to avoid the huge losses of its rivals, partly thanks to strong results from its network of more than 45,000 filling stations around the world. “We are coming out of 2020 with a stronger balance sheet,” Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement.

Its fourth-quarter profit fell 87% from a year earlier to $393 million - missing analyst forecasts for a profit of $597 million - dragged down by weak liquefied natural gas prices, lower production and weak refining margins.

In a sign of confidence, Shell said it expected to raise its dividend for the first quarter of 2021 by 4% from the previous quarter.

Shell’s net debt at the end of the fourth quarter raised about $2 billion on the previous quarter to $75,4 billion, with its gearing - or debt-to-equity ratio - ticking up to 32,3%.

Similar articles

  • Covid-19 vaccine makers slump on expected patent waiver

    Covid-19 vaccine makers slump on expected patent waiver

    The stocks of all companies involved in production of Covid-19 vaccines fell, as US and EU backed the call from the World Health Organisation to waive patent rights claims over the jabs production, Reuters reported. The share slumps came even as some analysts raised doubts about any near-term pressure on Covid-19 vaccine sales from discussions of waiving intellectual property rights, given the manufacturing complexity and scarcity of raw materials. Combined, Pfizer and Moderna have forecast a total of over $45 billion in sales this year for their Covid-19 vaccines.

  • Tesla misses key technology target

    Tesla misses key technology target

    The producer of electric cars Tesla admitted it would miss a target set by its majority owner Elon Musk - to develop full self-driving vehicles by the end of 2021, Reuters reported. The announcement seriously undermines Tesla ambitions to influence the global EV market. Documents released in media earlier this week showed that the company is falling behind announced deadlines while incidents with EVs continue to rise.

  • Bayer loses court fight over EU pesticides

    Bayer loses court fight over EU pesticides

    The German chemical conglomerate Bayer lost an appeal in EU court against a ban related to the usage of pesticides amid growing concerns linked to the extinction on bees, Reuters reported. The European Union's top court upheld the EU's partial ban on insecticides linked to harming bees, preventing their use on certain crops. Bayer appealed to overturn a lower EU court's 2018 decision to uphold the EU ban.