The logo of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell is pictured on pumps at a petrol station in London on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL
The logo of Royal Dutch Shell on pumps at a petrol station in London. Ben Stansall/AFP

Shell earnings more than double in 2017



Royal Dutch Shell's profit more than doubled in 2017 to $16 billion, the highest since the start of the 2014 downturn, boosted by stronger oil and gas prices and production as well as improved performance.

The Anglo-Dutch company on Thursday reported a sharp rise in cash flow in 2017 as the effect of years of costs cuts and the integration of the $54bn acquisition of BG Group in 2016 filtered through.

"We enter 2018 with continued discipline and confidence, committed to the delivery of strong returns and cash," said the chief executive Ben van Beurden.

Oil and gas production in the fourth quarter rose from the previous quarter to 3.756 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) from 3.657 million boed.

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Read more:

Shell, BP to buy Libyan oil amid increase in supply

British oil giant BP takes one-off $1.5bn charge over US tax reforms

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On a yearly basis, production fell 4 per cent as a result of the sale of assets.

Benchmark Brent crude oil price recovered strongly in recent months to reach a three-year high of around $70 a barrel.

On a quarterly basis, Shell's profits, based on a current cost of supplies (CCS) and excluding identified items, rose by 140 per cent to $4.3bn, slightly ahead of forecasts. A company-provided analysts' consensus forecast was $4.24bn.

Shell in the fourth quarter scrapped its scrip dividend, an austerity policy through which investors can opt to receive dividends in shares or cash.

The move was a sign of confidence that the Anglo-Dutch company is able to maintain around $15bn in annual dividend payments without resorting to scrip or lending after a three-year oil price downturn.

Shell's debt ratio versus company capitalisation, known as gearing, dropped to 24.8 per cent from a peak of 29.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2016.

Shell took a $2bn charge due to new US tax rules, which it nevertheless expects to give it a boost in the longer-term.

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar

Director: Luv Ranjan

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Anubhav Singh Bassi and Dimple Kapadia

Rating: 3/5

ICC Awards for 2021+

MEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Shaheen Afridi+(Pakistan)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Mohammad Rizwan+(Pakistan)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Babar Azam+(Pakistan)

Test Cricketer of the Year+– Joe Root+(England)

WOMEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Smriti Mandhana+(India)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Lizelle Lee+(South Africa)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Tammy Beaumont+(England)

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA

Display: 6.8" edge quad-HD+ dynamic Amoled 2X, Infinity-O, 3088 x 1440, 500ppi, HDR10+, 120Hz

Processor: 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 64-bit octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB RAM

Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB (only 128GB has an 8GB RAM option)

Platform: Android 13

Main camera: quad 12MP ultra-wide f/2.2 + 200MP wide f/1.7 + 10MP telephoto f/4.9 + 10MP telephoto 2.4; 3x/10x optical zoom, Space Zoom up to 100x; auto HDR, expert RAW

Video: 8K@24/30fps, 4K@60fps, full-HD@60fps, HD@30fps, full-HD super slo-mo@960fps

Front camera: 12MP f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh, fast wireless charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare

Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC

I/O: USB-C; built-in Galaxy S Pen

SIM: single nano / nano + eSIM / nano + nano + eSIM / nano + nano

Colours: cream, green, lavender, phantom black; online exclusives: graphite, lime, red, sky blue

Price: Dh4,949 for 256GB, Dh5,449 for 512GB, Dh6,449 for 1TB; 128GB unavailable in the UAE

Dark Souls: Remastered
Developer: From Software (remaster by QLOC)
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Price: Dh199

The specs: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Price, base / as tested Dh220,000 / Dh320,000

Engine 3.5L V6

Transmission 10-speed automatic

Power 421hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 678Nm @ 3,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 14.1L / 100km

BOSH!'s pantry essentials

Nutritional yeast

This is Firth's pick and an ingredient he says, "gives you an instant cheesy flavour". He advises making your own cream cheese with it or simply using it to whip up a mac and cheese or wholesome lasagne. It's available in organic and specialist grocery stores across the UAE.

Seeds

"We've got a big jar of mixed seeds in our kitchen," Theasby explains. "That's what you use to make a bolognese or pie or salad: just grab a handful of seeds and sprinkle them over the top. It's a really good way to make sure you're getting your omegas."

Umami flavours

"I could say soya sauce, but I'll say all umami-makers and have them in the same batch," says Firth. He suggests having items such as Marmite, balsamic vinegar and other general, dark, umami-tasting products in your cupboard "to make your bolognese a little bit more 'umptious'".

Onions and garlic

"If you've got them, you can cook basically anything from that base," says Theasby. "These ingredients are so prevalent in every world cuisine and if you've got them in your cupboard, then you know you've got the foundation of a really nice meal."

Your grain of choice

Whether rice, quinoa, pasta or buckwheat, Firth advises always having a stock of your favourite grains in the cupboard. "That you, you have an instant meal and all you have to do is just chuck a bit of veg in."

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

Director: Kangana Ranaut, Krish Jagarlamudi

Producer: Zee Studios, Kamal Jain

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Danny Denzongpa, Atul Kulkarni

Rating: 2.5/5

The biog

Name: Abeer Al Bah

Born: 1972

Husband: Emirati lawyer Salem Bin Sahoo, since 1992

Children: Soud, born 1993, lawyer; Obaid, born 1994, deceased; four other boys and one girl, three months old

Education: BA in Elementary Education, worked for five years in a Dubai school

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

LAST 16

SEEDS

Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona, Paris St-Germain, Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Valencia, Juventus

PLUS

Real Madrid, Tottenham, Atalanta, Atletico Madrid, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Lyon, Chelsea

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September


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