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Shell to buy back more shares as quarterly income slides

(Sharecast News) - Shell reported a 93% fall in income attributable to shareholders in its fourth quarter on Thursday, to $474m, with the full-year figure sliding 54% to $19.36bn. It put its performance down to higher LNG trading margins, favourable deferred tax movements, and increased production, offset by lower refining margins, reduced margins from crude and oil products trading, and higher operating expenses.

Additionally, net impairment charges and unfavourable movements related to commodity derivatives amounted to a net loss of $6bn for the quarter.

The FTSE 100 oil giant said adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter showed a more positive trend, rising 17% year-on-year to $7.31bn.

However, for the full year, adjusted earnings totalled $28.25bn, representing a 29% decrease from the prior year.

Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter remained stable at $16.34bn, while for the full year it declined 19% to $68.54bn.

Basic earnings per share in the fourth quarter were 7 cents, down 93%, while for the full year, they amounted to 288 cents, marking a 50% decrease.

Adjusted earnings per share in the fourth quarter increased by 19% to 111 cents, but for the full year, they declined by 23% to 420 cents.

In terms of dividends, the fourth quarter saw a 4% increase in dividends per share, reaching 34.4 cents, while for the full year, dividends increased by 25% to 129.35 cents per share.

Cash flow from operating activities for the fourth quarter was $12.6bn, primarily driven by adjusted EBITDA, a working capital inflow of $3.3bn, and other factors.

Shell said cash flow from investing activities for the quarter was an outflow of $5.7bn.

At the end of the fourth quarter, Shell's net debt stood at $43.5bn, reflecting changes in share buybacks, cash dividends, lease additions, and interest payments.

Gearing increased to 18.8% compared to the prior quarter, driven by higher net debt and lower equity.

Total shareholder distributions for the quarter amounted to $6.2bn, including share repurchases of $4bn and cash dividends paid to shareholders of $2.2bn.

Shell announced a new share buyback program of $3.5bn, expected to be completed by the first quarter.

At 0849 GMT, shares in Shell were up 1.76% at 2,490p.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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