Who owns Shell? Shell profits in 2023 amid energy crisis explained, what is its share price, who is its CEO?

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Shell’s 2022 profits were the highest in its 115-year history, with its latest earnings figures leading to more calls for a windfall tax on energy suppliers

Fossil fuels giant Shell has reported profits of $9.6 billion (£7.6 billion) for the first three months of 2023 - a stronger than expected performance.

The figure outstripped profits of $9.1 billion (£7.2 billion) it recorded over the same period in 2022, despite there being lower energy prices. The corporation said it had benefited from trading in the chemicals sector and its refined products business. It is set to buy back $4 billion (£3.2 billion) of its own shares in light of the news, which means shareholders are in for a multi-billion pound bonanza.

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The news follows BP’s announcement that it too had seen better-than-expected results between January and March this year. Both firms have enjoyed success off the back of soaring oil and gas prices in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.

In 2022, Shell revealed its highest return for 115 years. It has led to calls from opposition parties for the government to toughen up its windfall tax regime - something the government claims it did in its Autumn Statement.

So, who owns Shell - and how is its share price performing? Here’s everything you need to know.

Who owns Shell?

According to CNN, Shell’s biggest shareholders are asset managers and investment funds - something you tend to see at most major international corporations.

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The largest of these stockholders include Dimensional Fund Advisors, Fisher Asset Management, Fidelity Management & Research Co, Norges Bank Investment Management and J.O. Hambro Capital Management. Global finance giant BlackRock is also understood to hold a significant percentage of the business, according to Shell filings.

Shell has enjoyed a share price uplift in light of its latest results announcement (image: AFP/Getty Images)Shell has enjoyed a share price uplift in light of its latest results announcement (image: AFP/Getty Images)
Shell has enjoyed a share price uplift in light of its latest results announcement (image: AFP/Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The company’s shareholders get to determine who sits on the company’s board, as well as which direction they want the business to go in. These decisions are arranged every year at an annual general meeting. The Shell Board is currently comprised of the following people - as per the Shell website:

  • CEO, Wael Sawan
  • CFO, Sinead Gorman
  • Chair, Andrew Mackenzie
  • Deputy Chair, Euleen Goh
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Dick Boer
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Neil Carson
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Ann Godbehere
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Catherine J Hughes
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Jane Holl Lute
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Martina Hund-Mejean
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Sir Charles Roxburgh
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Abraham Schot
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Leena Srivastava
  • Independent Non-executive Director, Cyrus Taraporevala
  • Company Secretary, Caroline Omloo

Why are profits skyrocketing?

The increase in profits for energy firms has been triggered by the higher prices for oil and gas, which have spiked following pandemic lockdowns and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has reduced supplies to Europe amid the war, and there are concerns that it may cease supplies completely.

With gas supply problems meaning that there is potential for wholesale prices to soar, companies have been passing these costs onto their customers, sharply increasing household energy bills by massive amounts. Higher oil prices have also led to a knock-on effect of higher petrol and diesel prices, resulting in record highs.

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Given energy companies have not had to do much to achieve their record profits over the past year, with the global geopolitical situation having done more for them than any operational changes could, there have been calls for them to pay more in tax. They have also been accused of profiteering by passing on higher oil and gas prices, and failing to do more to become environmentally friendly.

In the case of Shell, Joseph Evans, a researcher at progressive think tank IPPR says: “Shell’s profits soar while households suffer. To add insult to injury, instead of using the profits productively, like investing in the green transition, they’ve decided to hand this excess cash straight to their shareholders through a £3.18 billion buyback programme, adding to the £13.8bn they paid out last year.

“It is time the government finally start taxing excessive payments to shareholders. A share buyback tax could bring in crucial billions to the UK treasury every year.” In the US, President Joe Biden is proposing to bring such a tax into law at a rate of 4% - a figure the IPPR says would raise £2 billion a year for the UK public purse if it was replicated on this side of the Atlantic.

Shell may struggle to replicate its record profits from 2022 (image: AFP/Getty Images)Shell may struggle to replicate its record profits from 2022 (image: AFP/Getty Images)
Shell may struggle to replicate its record profits from 2022 (image: AFP/Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Commentators believe the fossil fuel giants will struggle to replicate their current profit levels going forward. Walid Koudmani, chief market analyst at online investment platform XTB.com, says the year ahead could prove to be “quite volatile” for companies like Shell.

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He says: “Prospects of a widespread recession and demand concerns have led to a noticeable pullback in oil prices while natural gas struggles to recover from the downward trend. Despite excellent results for the first three months of the year, things could prove to be quite different in the coming months unless we see a significant shift in expectations and actual consumption of energy products.”

What is Shell’s share price?

Shell has enjoyed a share price boost since announcing its latest profits haul and subsequent share buyback programme. So far on Thursday (4 May), its share price has risen 1.66% - making it one of the top performers on the FTSE 100.

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