Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) is expected to have doubled its annual profits, The Times has reported. The news comes as the Anglo-Dutch energy giant prepares to update investors on its fourth-quarter performance on Thursday.
Shell’s share price has climbed higher in London in today’s session, having added 0.78 percent to 2,529.50p as of 09:23 GMT. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.13 percent higher at 7,675.38 points. The group’s shares have added more than 15 percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a seven-percent rise in the Footsie.
Shell to post rise in profits
Shell is scheduled to update investors on its performance on Thursday and The Times reports that the surge in crude prices is expected to have lifted the oil major’s earnings from $7.2 billion to $15.7 billion last year, according to a consensus of analysts’ forecasts. Brent crude has soared by 55 percent since June to more than $70 a barrel last week, reaching levels unseen since the 2014 price crash.
Investors will also be looking out for an update on the oil major’s disposal programme, with Shell looking to divest $30 billion of assets to shore up its balance sheet in the wake of its acquisition of BG Group. Earlier this month, the Anglo-Dutch group reassured investors that its divestment programme remained on track to complete this year, with deals worth $23 billion completed, $2 billion announced and $5 billion in advanced progress.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, which is bullish on Shell with an ‘overweight’ rating, lifted its price target on the shares from 2,850p to 2,950p last week. According to MarketBeat, the oil group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 2,632p.