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Royal Dutch Shell has released its fourth quarter results and fourth quarter interim dividend announcement for 2018.
Compared with the fourth quarter 2017, CCS earnings attributable to shareholders excluding identified items of $5.7 billion mainly benefited from higher realised oil, gas and LNG prices as well as stronger contributions from crude oil and LNG trading, partly offset by movements in deferred tax positions. Full year earnings of $21.4 billion also reflected higher realised oil, gas and LNG prices, partly offset by movements in deferred tax positions.
Cash flow from operating activities for the fourth quarter 2018 was $22.0 billion, which included positive working capital movements of $9.1 billion, mainly as a result of a fall in crude oil price and lower inventory levels. Excluding working capital movements, cash flow from operations of $12.9 billion mainly reflected increased earnings, compared with the fourth quarter 2017.
Total dividends distributed to shareholders in the quarter were $3.9 billion. In January 2019, the second tranche of the share buyback programme was completed, with 83.5 million A ordinary shares bought back for cancellation for an aggregate consideration of $2.5 billion. Today, Shell launches the next tranche of the share buyback programme, with a maximum aggregate consideration of $2.5 billion in the period up to and including April 29, 2019.
Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden commented:
‘Shell delivered a very strong financial performance in 2018, with cash flow from operations of $49.6 billion, excluding working capital movements. We delivered on our promises for the year, including the completion of the $30 billion divestment programme and starting up key growth projects while maintaining discipline on capital investment. We paid our entire dividend in cash, further reduced our debt and launched our share buyback programme, with $4.5 billion in shares repurchased so far.
We will continue with a strong delivery focus in 2019, with a disciplined approach to capital investment and growing both our cash flow and returns. Our strategy to deliver a world-class investment case is working.’
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