Royal Dutch Shell Plc. announced Thursday a net profit of $4.69 billion in the second quarter of 2018, marking a 30 percent increase over the same period last year.
The earnings attributable to shareholders on a current cost of supplies basis and excluding identified items "reflected increased contributions from Integrated Gas and Upstream, partly offset by lower earnings in Downstream," the oil giant said in a report.
Shell's net profit in the first quarter was $5.4 billion.
According to the results, cash flow from operating activities for the second quarter stood at $9.5 billion which included negative working capital movements of $2.1 billion, compared with $11.3 billion in the second quarter of 2017 with positive working capital movements of $2.5 billion.
Total dividends distributed to shareholders in the quarter were $3.9 billion, Shell said.
The company also announced the launch of a share buyback program of at least $25 billion in the period 2018-2020, "subject to further progress with debt reduction and oil price conditions".
"In the first tranche of this program, Shell enters into an irrevocable, non-discretionary arrangement to enable the purchase of A ordinary shares and/or B ordinary shares up to the maximum aggregate consideration of $2 billion over a period of three months," it said.
According to Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, the move “complements the progress made since the completion of the BG acquisition in 2016, to reshape our portfolio through a $30 billion divestment program and new projects, to reduce net debt, and to turn off the scrip dividend".
He said the company's financial framework remained unchanged.
"Our free cash flow outlook and the progress we have made to strengthen our balance sheet give us the confidence to start our share buyback program," he added.
By Hale Turkes