Company Briefs: Shell; Hatten Land; Unilever

Shell

Royal Dutch Shell yesterday reported a 36 per cent rise in last year's profits to US$21.4 billion (S$28.8 billion), the highest since 2014, beating forecasts as cost savings kicked in, said Reuters.

For the fourth quarter of last year, the Anglo-Dutch firm's net income attributable to shareholders, based on a current cost of supplies and excluding identified items, rose 32 per cent on the year to US$5.688 billion, as deep cost cuts introduced after the 2014 market downturn filtered through.

That compared with a company-provided forecast of US$5.28 billion for the quarter and US$20.98 billion for the full year.


Hatten Land

Property developer Hatten Land intends to transfer from the Catalist to the main board of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), the company said in an SGX filing on Wednesday.

The proposed transfer is subject to the approval of the firm's shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting, as well as of SGX. Hatten Land said an application to the SGX will be made in due course.


Unilever

Unilever reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter sales yesterday, hurt by inflation in Argentina and flat volume growth in developed markets, in its first set of results since new chief executive Alan Jope took charge.

The maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry's ice cream said fourth-quarter underlying sales rose 2.9 per cent, reported Reuters. Analysts, on average, were expecting 3.5 per cent, a consensus forecast supplied by the firm showed.

The Anglo-Dutch group had said full-year sales growth would be at the bottom end of its 3 per cent to 5 per cent forecast range.

Unilever blamed Argentina, which makes up 2.5 per cent of its overall business, for hyperinflation that led prices to spike more than 50 per cent and therefore volume to fall more than 20 per cent in the quarter.

But more broadly, sales volume in the Americas was flat, as pricing growth was offset by volume declines. The same happened in Europe, though the company eked out 0.8 per cent sales growth in the region. Overall, underlying sales in developed markets grew 0.4 per cent in the quarter.

For the full year, Unilever reported turnover of US$57.05 billion (S$77 billion), excluding its divested spreads business, with underlying sales up 3.1 per cent, in line with expectations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'Company Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe