Royal Dutch Shell Reports $7.5 Billion First-Quarter Profit

LONDON -- The shares of Royal Dutch Shell advanced 21 pence to 2,280 pence during early London trade this morning after the FTSE 100 member issued its first-quarter results and revealed its chief executive is to retire.

Shell said its underlying earnings had advanced 3% to $7.5 billion during January, February and March.

In addition, the group confirmed its production during the quarter was 3.6 million barrels of oil a day, an increase of 2% on the same period of 2012.

Shell also claimed its gearing was 9.1% and its return on average capital employed was 13% at the end of March.

As previously announced, Shell lifted its quarterly dividend by 4.7% to $0.45 per share.

Peter Voser, Shell's chief executive, said: "Our industry continues to see significant energy price volatility as a result of economic and political developments. Oil prices have fallen recently but Shell is implementing a long-term, competitive and innovative strategy against this volatile backdrop."

Voser added that he would retire from the company during the first half of next year.

Shell's chairman, Jorma Ollila, said: "Peter's leadership of Shell over the last four years has been impressive, reorganizing the company, delivering growth, and developing a clear forward strategy with a strong portfolio of new options."

Annualizing today's quarterly figures gives potential earnings approaching £3 a share and a possible dividend of around 116 pence per share. Those projections equate to a P/E of less than eight and yield of more than 5%.

Of course, whether those ratings, today's results, Voser's retirement and the general outlook for multinational oil companies all combine to make Shell a buy right now is something only you can decide.

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