Royal Dutch Shell Raises 2013 Dividend by 4.7%

LONDON -- The shares of Royal Dutch Shell  (LSE: RDSB  ) (NYSE: RDS-B  ) declined 35 pence, to 2,328 pence, during early London trade this morning, despite the company revealing a 4.7% dividend lift for 2013.

Shell, which is the largest constituent within the FTSE 100 index, said its first-quarter payout this year would be increased by $0.02, to $0.45 per share. The move puts the dividend for 2013 as a whole on course for $1.80, or roughly 114 pence, per share.

The dividend announcement accompanied full-year results that showed underlying 2012 earnings advancing 2%, to $25 billion. Shell's fourth quarter witnessed underlying earnings gain of 15%, to $5.6bn.

Peter Voser, Shell's chief executive, said:

With the first year of our 2012-2015 growth targets completed, Shell is on track for plans we set out in early 2012, despite headwinds last year.

Voser reiterated Shell's aim of delivering between $175 billion and $200 billion of total cash flow from operations between 2012 and 2015, and embarking on a net capital expenditure program of between $120 billion and $130 billion. Capital expenditure of $33 billion is planned for 2013.

Voser also confirmed that Shell had "on stream" resources equivalent to 12 billion barrels of oil, with production currently running at 3.4 million barrels a day. He claimed around 30 new projects should unlock a further 7 billion barrels of oil, and increase production to 4 million barrels a day by 2018.

Looking ahead, Voser said:

We make long-term decisions on capital allocation and growth choices, and we look through short-term market volatility. As our cash flow momentum builds we expect to increase our dividends for shareholders in measured, affordable steps.

The latest "measured, affordable" increase to the dividend suggests Shell's shares now offer a prospective income of 4.9%.

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