Shell posted a $9.45 billion third-quarter profit on Thursday, down from the previous quarter’s record, due to a weakening in the refining business and gas trading area, while announcing plans to increase strongly its dividend at the end of the year, when its CEO leaves.
Shell also expanded its share buyback program, announcing plans to buy $4 billion of shares over the next three months, after completing $6 billion in the previous quarter.
The company said it intends to increase its dividend by 15% in the fourth quarter, when CEO Ben van Beurden steps down after nine years at the helm. The dividend will be paid in March.
Shell shares rose 2.5% after the opening of trading in London.
Van Beurden will be succeeded by Wael Sawan, current head of Shell’s natural gas and low-carbon division.
With a profit of $30.5 billion so far this year, Shell is on track to surpass its 2008 record annual profit of $31 billion.
These strong profits are likely to intensify calls in the UK and the European Union to impose more windfall taxes on energy companies, at a time when governments grapple with rising gas and electricity bills.
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