Jul 26, 2018

Opening Quote: Diageo, Astra, Shell, Sky . . . phew, what a scorcher

So should news that full-year operating profit was up 3.7 per cent to £3.7bn - despite organic growth being partially offset by adverse exchange rates. All regions reported higher sales, with organic net sales up 5 per cent. HSBC analysts had thought Shell might want to get gearing down to 20 per cent before restarting buybacks - but evidently today's 23.6 per cent is low enough. Is the 5 per cent increase in like-for-like revenue to £13.6bn announced by Sky enough to do any of that? Or the 7 per cent rise in statutory operating profit to £1.03bn? Or the 70 bps cut in operating costs? Or the 39 per cent rise in Q4 customer growth to more than 23 million European households? A fall of £650m, or 5.6 per cent, in property values sent the FTSE 250 group to a £507m pre-tax loss in the six months to June, from a £123m profit a year earlier.

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