Royal Dutch Shell has reported a big drop in fourth quarter profits as oil prices slumped.
However, the energy giant eased investor fears about cashflows by raising its dividend by five percent. Many shareholders are keen on Shell for its fat dividends and some were concerned that lower crude prices would effect those payouts. The profit for the fourth quarter of last year was 3.7 billion euros, down 28 percent on the same period a year earlier and 56 percent lower than profits in the third quarter. For the whole year, profit was up by 14 percent at around 24 billion euros. Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said : “It was a strange year. We made a record profit – corrected and compared with previous results – however at the end of the year we had trouble with the economy in many countries. In spite of our record profit, we’re not going to be celebrating. He said industry conditions remain challenging and the fourth-quarter performance was “satisfactory” given the pressure on demand for oil and gas due to a weaker global economy. Unlike some of its rivals, Shell said it plans to invest more in looking for new oil.