Shell profits more than double to $9.5bn; European Central Bank to hike interest rates – business live

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Shell’s renewables and energy solutions business remained in the red in the three months to September, including the value of the group’s commodity hedges. Excluding these, cash profits were $530m, down 48% from the previous quarter due to price volatility and rising operating expenses.

Laura Hoy, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said:

With oil prices down from their triple-digit highs this summer, it was inevitable to see big oil’s profits start to thin. However nearly $7bn in profits for the quarter is nothing to sneeze at, and is a far cry from the losses Shell suffered last year. Although the group isn’t printing money at record pace anymore, oil prices are still elevated by historical standards and that means Shell has more than enough to continue boosting shareholder rewards.

Notably, apart from modest contributions from its retail network, Shell’s oil and gas exploration and extraction business is bringing home most of the bacon. This is to be expected, particularly in an environment where oil prices are elevated. Eventually we’d like to see cleaner parts of the business start to make up a bigger slice of the pie. The renewables business has gotten a lot of attention lately given the incoming CEO Wael Sawan was its head, but a quarter-on-quarter decline in profits suggests there’s still a long way to go before this part of the business will make it into the black.

No word yet on how Sawan’s presence will impact the group’s strategy going forward, but that’s something we’d expect to hear more about in the new year once the transition is complete.

Shell leads gains on FTSE 100

Shell shares are the biggest riser on the FTSE 100, up more than 4% after it reported bumper £8.2bn profits for the quarter from July to September, and announced a £4bn share buyback alongside a 15% hike in the dividend.

The FTSE overall has notched up a modest gain of 0.26%, up 17 points at 7,073, while other stock markets in Europe have fallen.

Crude oil prices have also dipped. Brent crude, the global benchmark, is down 0.4% at $95.40 a barrel while US light crude is 0.3% lower at $87.61 a barrel.

The pound has dipped 0.28% to $1.1594 versus the dollar this morning, but remains close to a six-week high. It is trading 0.1% lower against the euro at €1.1518.

On the UK government bond market, yields (or interest rates) are up slightly.

Shell and other UK energy companies pay 40% tax, compared with the 19% corporation tax other companies pay (this is due to go up to 25% next April).

But only profits made in the UK are taxable, not those generated overseas.

Moreover, the windfall tax announced by then-chancellor Rishi Sunak in May, a 25% energy profits levy, allows companies to get 91p in tax relief for every pound invested in UK energy.

Global Witness: Shell’s excess profits could pay for energy bills of 12.5m households

Shell has made £31bn in excess profits over the past twelve months fuelled by rocketing global energy prices, while Brits have seen energy bill hikes drive an acute cost of living crisis, said Global Witness, an international NGO.

It said the excess profits, made in addition to Shell’s normal, but already high profits, could pay for

  • The energy bills of 12.5 million British households, or

  • Almost half of the £68 billion the government needs to help its citizens with high energy bills, or

  • Heat pumps for 2.1 million UK homes, that would protect families from energy price volatility, or

  • The energy bills of everyone on universal credit; plus emergency aid for all 19 million Yemeni’s caught in one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters; plus emergency shelter for all of the victims of Pakistan’s climate crisis caused floods – and still leave £17.1 billion in excess profits for Shell’s shareholders.

Jonathan Gant, fossil fuels campaigner at Global Witness, said:

Life is becoming harder and harder for people in Britain. Pensioners are going cold, children are going to school hungry, and people are scared for what winter will bring. There are no such concerns for Shell’s executives, who will be continuing to enjoy the high life while the rest of us suffer…

As prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt look for ways to support their citizens, it should be blindingly obvious that energy firms are sitting on an untapped gold mine. It’s time to stop punishing people for a system they didn’t create and take the money this country desperately needs from the immense profits Shell and other energy companies are enjoying.

Wael Sawan, head of Shell’s renewables and gas business, will replace Ben van Beurden as chief executive at the start of next year, when van Beurden’s nine-year stint at the helm will end.

Ben Stansfield, environmental affairs partner at law firm Gowling WLG, said Shell had begun to make more investments in renewable energy.

With recent economic concerns, especially within Europe, oil prices have begun to drop and incoming boss, Wael Sawan, will face the challenge of cutting the company’s emissions and shifting to more renewable energy sources.

Investment has been made in this area to diversify its portfolio with renewable energy provider acquisitions in both Nigeria and India. Shell is also obtaining a significant share in an Australian onshore wind, solar and large-scale battery storage facility to help reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Despite this, Sawan faces significant strategic challenges in order to achieve Shell’s target of becoming a profitable net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.

Joanna Partridge

Joanna Partridge

Here is our full story on Shell:

Shell has reported profits of nearly $9.5bn (£8.2bn) between July and September, more than double the amount it made during the same period a year earlier, as it said it would increase its payments to shareholders.

The oil company continued to benefit from soaring energy prices prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it was not able to match the record $11.5bn profit it earned between April and June, because of weaker refining and gas trading.

Despite this, the FTSE 100 company’s third quarter earnings were higher than the $9bn forecasts by analysts, and were more than double the $4.1bn reported in the same quarter in 2021.

Oil companies’ bumper profits have prompted calls for higher taxes on the sector, and are likely to lead to fresh demands from political parties including Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, as well as from environmental campaigners, for the new government led by Rishi Sunak to look again at a higher windfall tax on oil companies.

Kalyeena Makortoff

Kalyeena Makortoff

Here is our full story on Lloyds:

Profits at Lloyds Banking Group dropped by more than 25% in the three months to September, as the UK’s “deteriorating” economic outlook forced it to put aside nearly £670m to protect against potential defaults on loans and mortgages.

Lloyds, which owns Halifax and is the country’s largest mortgage lender, said pre-tax profits had tumbled to £1.5bn in the third quarter, down from £2bn during the same period last year. That was larger than the 9.5% fall to £1.8bn that analysts had predicted.

The larger-than-expected drop in profits was despite a rise in interest rates, which have increased the cost of borrowing for loan and mortgage customers but propped up a key revenue stream for banks. Lloyds reported a 19% rise in net interest income, which accounts for the difference between interest earned on loans and paid out for savings, to £3.4bn.

Lloyds said that higher income was “more than offset by the impairment charge in light of the deterioration in the macroeconomic outlook”.

The bank put aside £668m to protect itself against bad loans, fearing some loan and mortgage customers could default on their debts.

That figure more than double the £285m analysts had expected, and compares with the £119m that Lloyds released last year, having originally put aside more money to protect against bad loans during the Covid pandemic.

Lloyds’ chief executive, Charlie Nunn, said that despite the economic outlook, the bank was ready to help borrowers, who have been squeezed by a rise in inflation and a rising borrowing costs.

Greenpeace calls for “proper tax” on energy firms’ profits

Greenpeace has called on the government to impose a “proper tax” on energy firms’ profits and to use the money to help struggling households, for example by insulating homes. Its UK’s senior climate advisor Charlie Kronick said:

While Shell continues to bank billions, how many more households need to be forced into fuel poverty before the government wakes up: the only way to address the interlocking cost of living, energy security and climate crises is a street by street rollout of home insulation combined with a massive lift in ambition for renewable energy. These solutions would lower peoples’ bills permanently.

A proper tax on Shell’s reported Q3 $9.5bn profits as well as the billions made in Q1 and Q2 by all the fossil fuel giants would already have generated enough cash to insulate thousands of homes. Responding to the cost of living crisis is well within the government’s control – the question now is, will Rishi and his chancellor finally take responsibility and do something about it?

Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, has raked in more than $30bn in profits in the first nine months of the year, which could revive calls for a further windfall tax.

Rishi Sunak introduced a 25% energy profits levy earlier in the year when he was chancellor, which applies to profits made from extracting oil and gas. The Treasury expects it to raise £5bn this year.

ITV’s business and economics editor Joel Hill tweets:

Shell and Lloyds have both reported very plump profits this morning which will have no doubt caught the eye of the chancellor.

The war in Ukraine and rising interest rates mean energy companies and banks are in clover. And Jeremy Hunt has a hole in the public finances to fill.

— Joel Hills (@ITVJoel) October 27, 2022

Introduction: Shell profits double to $9.5bn, ECB to hike rates

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of business, the world economy and the financial markets.

Shell has beaten expectations with a profit of $9.5bn (£8.1bn) in the third quarter and announced plans to raise its dividend and buy back more shares.

The figure was more than double the $4.1bn profit a year earlier, and better than the $9bn forecast by analysts. It was below the record $11.5bn profit the oil and gas giant made in the third quarter, because of weaker refining and gas trading. Shell hailed it as a “robust performance in a turbulent economic environment with lower crude prices and higher gas prices”.

The Anglo-Dutch company plans to boost the dividend by 15% in the fourth quarter, and extended its share repurchasing programme, announcing plans to buy $4bn of stock over the next three months.

Energy companies have benefited from the surge in oil and gas prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, although crude oil prices have fallen from highs of $120 a barrel in June to around $95 (for Brent crude, the global benchmark). Natural gas prices have also dropped sharply and are 70% below their peak in late August.

Energy firms’ bumper profits are in stark contrast to the precarious situation households and small businesses find themselves in, struggling with rocketing energy bills.

Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden said:

We are delivering robust results at a time of ongoing volatility in global energy markets. We continue to strengthen Shell’s portfolio through disciplined investment and transform the company for a low-carbon future. At the same time we are working closely with governments and customers to address their short and long-term energy needs.

Meanwhile, Lloyds Banking Group has reported a decline in quarterly profits as it prepared for a potential rise in bad loans. Pretax profits dropped 25% to £1.5bn for the three months to September, below the £1.8bn forecast by the City. The lender, which owns Halifax, pointed to the UK’s “deteriorating” economic outlook as it put aside nearly £670m to protect against potential defaults on loans and mortgages.

At lunchtime, the European Central Bank is widely expected to raise borrowing costs again to combat high inflation. The central bank is almost certain to raise its deposit rate by 75 basis points to 2%. It is also likely to start reducing its €8.8 trillion balance sheet following years of debt purchases and ultra cheap loans extended to banks.

Analysts at BNP Paribas said:

The ECB is still in catch-up mode. We think there is now a comfortable majority for taking rates into restrictive territory.

The Agenda

  • 11am BST: UK CBI Retail sales for October (previous: -20)

  • 1.15pm BST: European Central Bank interest rate decision((forecast: 75bps rate hike to 2%)

  • 1.30pm BST: US GDP for third quarter (forecast: 2.4%, previous: -0..6%)

  • 1.30pm BST: US Durable goods orders for September (forecast: 0.6%, previous: -0.2%)

  • 1.45pm BST: ECB Press conference

  • 3.15pm BST: ECB President Christine Lagarde speech

  • 4.30pm BST: Bank of England Deputy Governor for Prudential Regulation Sam Woods speech


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