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Shell reports record annual profits

Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell has reported annual net income of $18.5 billion for 2004 ? the largest ever annual profit of a UK company and a 38% increase on 2003. The company also achieved record cash generation of $33 billion and says that as a result shareholders will receive at least $10 billion cash in dividends during 2005.

For Royal Dutch, basic net income in 2004 was $5.50 per share and basic CCS earnings were $5.22 per share.

CEO Jeroen van der Veer said: ?2004 was a year of extremes, with the reserves recategorisation on one hand and record net income and cash generation on the other. Our performance demonstrates our financial and operational resilience, and the quality of our people and assets.

?We have taken the steps necessary to close out the reserves issue, made substantial improvements to our portfolio and are reshaping the organisation,? he added.

The company benefited from the surge in crude oil prices during 2004 which reached more than $55 per barrel.

The company has relaunched its $3.5 billion share buyback programme for 2005.

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