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Shell to increase asset sales after profit warning

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Royal Dutch Shell followed on from its profit warning earlier this month Thursday with its worst figures for five years.

Its CCS (current cost of supplies) adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter were $2.9 billion, as it had forewarned markets earlier in January when it said profit would be "significantly lower than recent levels" due to current oil and gas prices and the state of the downstream oil products industry.

CCS is an industry standard of measuring earnings and excludes identified items and strips out unrealized gains or losses related to changes in the value of fuel inventories.

It reported pre-tax profit of $5.96 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, on revenues of $109.24 billion. Fourth-quarter net profits fell 74 percent on the same period last year to $1.78 billion. A fourth-quarter 2013 dividend of $0.45 per ordinary share was announced.

Shares of the company were trading around 2 percent higher on Thursday morning.

(Read more: Shell hit by refining costs, Nigeria 'sabotage')

Chief Executive Ben van Beurden, who took over the leadership of the Anglo-Dutch company at the start of January, said the company will increase the pace of asset sales, which are expected to be $15 billion for 2014-15.

"We are making hard choices in our world-wide portfolio to improve Shell's capital efficiency", van Beurden said.

The company had to improve its financial results, he said, achieve better capital efficiency and strengthen operational performance.

"2014 will be a year where we are changing emphasis, to improve our returns and cash flow performance", he continued

"Our ambitious growth drive in recent years has yielded a step change in Shell's portfolio and options, with more growth to come, but at the same time we have lost some momentum in operational delivery, and we can sharpen up in a number of areas," he said in a statement.

By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt.

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