Shell profits drop but still break records

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The Independent Online

Royal Dutch Shell posted its biggest quarterly fall in profit for 10 years yesterday, but still set a UK record for its annual results. The company made $4.8bn (£3.4bn) in the last three months of 2008, 56 per cent less than in the previous quarter and 28 per cent less than in the same period of 2007. But full-year profits, buoyed by sky-high oil prices earlier in the year, hit a record-breaking $31.4bn, 14 per cent higher than in 2007.

Jeroen van der Veer, right, the chief executive, said: "We are steering the Shell ship through rough waters, but so far it is okay."

With the oil price down to around $40 per barrel for the first time since 2004, but costs still running at double the level they were four years ago, it is a difficult time for the industry. Although some investment decisions have been deferred, Shell is maintaining capital expenditure plans and raising its dividend by 11 per cent, to $0.40. "The dividend is a sign of confidence in our future," Mr van der Veer added.