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