What the papers say: Shell profits leave a bitter taste

A bumper results season got into full swing last week with Shell’s £9.8bn earnings announcement, ‘Shell’s £1m an hour profit’ (Evening Standard, 3 February).

Predictably, the large profit statement bought with it castigations for unseemly profiteering, calls for a ‘windfall tax’, and demands for greater social responsibility. ‘Britain is still suspicious of wealth creators’, noted The Times (4 February).

The Observer faced Britain’s distaste for conspicuous wealth head-on asking, ‘at what level do the profits cease to be obscene?’ (Frank Kane, 6 February).

Ironically, while appearing ‘to be in rude health’ (FT, 4 February), Shell struggled to shake off the effects of a punishing year in which the overstatement of reserves led to regulatory fines, loss of senior staff, restructuring, stock and debt-rating downgrades.

While investor concerns will have been eased by CEO Jeroen van der Veer’s confidence in the future, the market remains only too aware that Shell’s long-term health needs ‘something in reserve’ (FT,4 February).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk

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