Shell boosted its dividend and share repurchases on Thursday, after fourth-quarter profits soared to $6.4 billion, fuelled by higher oil and gas prices, and a strong gas-trading performance.
Shell, which moved its headquarters from The Hague to London last month, noted that it expected to increase its dividend by 4% in the first quarter of 2022, to $0.25 per share.
Last November, Shell announced that it would do away with its dual-share system and keep a single line of shares, as it looks to boost shareholder payouts through stock buy-backs and simplify its structure for investors.
The company also announced that it will buy back $8.5 billion worth of shares in the first half of 2022, including $5.5 billion from the sale of its Permian shale assets in the United States.
That compares with share buy-backs totalling $3.5 billion in 2021.
“Two thousand twenty-one was a momentous year for Shell,” CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement.
Fourth-Quarter Adjusted Earnings
Fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings rose by 55% from the previous quarter, to $6.4 billion, above an average analyst forecast provided by the company for a $5.2 billion profit.
That compares with earnings of $393 million a year earlier.
For the year, Shell’s adjusted earnings rose to $19.3 billion, compared to $4.85 billion in 2020.
The energy company noted that it planned this year’s spending at the lower end of $23-$27 billion, after spending $20 billion in 2021.
Shell, the largest trader of liquefied natural gas (LNG), noted that its integrated gas earnings were boosted by ‘significantly higher’ profits from trading.