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Earnings

Shell's full-year profit surges to four-year high, beats expectations

Key Points
  • Full-year profits jumped 36 percent to $21.4 billion in 2018 — as cost savings helped the Anglo-Dutch company record its highest annual profits since 2014.
  • Net income attributable to shareholders on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis, used as a proxy for net profit, and excluding identified items, came in at $5.7 billion.
Royal Dutch Shell products in Torzhok, Russia.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell reported better-than-expected full-year earnings on Thursday, as deep cost cuts introduced after the 2014 energy market downturn filtered through.

Full-year profits jumped 36 percent to $21.4 billion in 2018 — as cost savings helped the Anglo-Dutch company record its highest annual profits since 2014.

Net income attributable to shareholders on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis, used as a proxy for net profit, and excluding identified items, came in at $5.7 billion. This compared to a company-provided analyst consensus of $5.28 billion for the final three months of 2018, according to Reuters.

"Shell delivered a very strong financial performance in 2018, with cash flow from operations of $49.6 billion, excluding working capital movements," Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, said in a statement published Thursday.

"We will continue with a strong delivery focus in 2019, with a disciplined approach to capital investment and growing both our cash flow and returns. Our strategy to deliver a world-class investment case is working," he added.

A robust performance in the final three months of the year was underpinned by higher oil and gas prices, year-on-year, as well as a stronger contribution from liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading.

Market participants saw large gains in energy shares over the first nine months of 2018 largely wiped out by a dramatic decline in crude futures in the fourth quarter. The value of a barrel of Brent crude soared to a four-year high of $86 a barrel in early October, before collapsing to around $50 within weeks.

Crude futures have hovered around $60 a barrel so far this year. Shares of Shell rose more than 3.5 percent on Thursday morning.

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