Apr 30, 2020

Opening Quote: Shell cuts its dividend for the first time since World War 2

Royal Dutch Shell, the biggest dividend payer in the FTSE 100, has cut its dividend by two-thirds. To underline just what a big deal that is, it's the first time that the oil major has done so since the second world war. Shell said it would trim its dividend from 47 cents a share to 16 cents. On Shell's preferred profit measure, net income adjusted for cost of supply, first-quarter earnings fell 45 per cent year-on-year to $2.9bn. On a statutory basis, Shell slipped to a small post-tax loss of $24m. Chairman Chad Holliday said that "Given the risk of a prolonged period of economic uncertainty, weaker commodity prices, higher volatility and uncertain demand outlook", the board had decided it was "Not prudent" to keep shareholder payouts at the same level as before. J Sainsbury reported results for the year to the start of March today, but unlike rival Tesco has deferred any decision on its dividend until later in the year because of concerns over coronavirus.

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