Shell to increase returns, step up disposals in 2014

LONDON Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:10am EST

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LONDON Jan 30 (Reuters) - Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday said it would step-up disposals and seek to return a greater share of earnings to investors as it posted fourth quarter profits in line with its downgraded forecast.

Shell, the world's no. 3 investor owned oil company, earlier this month issued a "significant" profit warning for the three months to the end of December, detailing across-the-board problems just weeks into the tenure of new boss Ben van Beurden.

"Our overall strategy remains robust, but 2014 will be a year where we are changing emphasis, to improve our returns and cash flow performance," van Beurden said in a statement.

Fourth quarter earnings excluding identified items and on a current cost of supply basis came in at $2.9 billion, in line with what it said it expected to make on Jan. 17, and making the quarter its least profitable for five years.

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