Royal Dutch Shell Group .com

DAILY TELEGRAPH (UK): The week that was: “Oil giant Shell posted a 48pc jump in first-quarter profits on a surging oil price and high refining margins but overall production fell 2pc to 3.85m barrels of oil equivalent a day.” ( 30 April 05


(Filed: 30/04/2005)


A summary of this week's main business stories


• Marconi is facing 2,000 redundancies and calls to put itself up for sale after failing to make the list of preferred suppliers for a £10billion investment by BT. The shares plunged 38pc.


• The US economy grew at its slowest pace for two years in the first quarter of 2005 as the trade deficit widened and high petrol prices hit spending. GDP expanded by 3.1pc, well below forecasts of 3.5pc and the 3.8pc growth rate at the end of 2004.


• Kingfisher's shares fell to a two-year low after a sharp deterioration in trade at its B&Q chain, forcing chief executive Gerry Murphy to issue a profit warning.


• Oil giant Shell posted a 48pc jump in first-quarter profits on a surging oil price and high refining margins but overall production fell 2pc to 3.85m barrels of oil equivalent a day.


• Shares in Glaxo Smithkline and Astrazeneca rose after good first-quarter results and the proposed resolution of a manufacturing problem at Glaxo.


• About 200,000 husband and wife firms could owe an extra £9,000 in tax after a High Court judge ruled they could not reduce their joint tax bill by paying a low salary to the main earner and then distributing profits in dividends equally between the spouses.


• Icelandic bank Kaupthing signalled it was hungry for further deals after agreeing to pay £547m for Singer & Friedlander.


• IG Index chief executive Nat Le Roux has netted a £6m windfall from selling 5m shares in the spread betting company on its return to the stock market.


• Returns from residential property in Britain are lagging behind the stock market for the first time in four years.


• Germany and Italy have both lashed out at the European Central Bank, demanding lower interest rates to lift their economies out of a slump.


• Labour is facing National Audit Office investigations into two contentious spending decisions made by the Ministry of Defence - £84m for Swan Hunter and a £1billion helicopter contract for AgustaWestland that safeguards 4,000 jobs.


• Insurer Legal & General criticised politicians for failing to address Britain's savings crisis in the general election campaign.


• Barclays confirmed it could offer £2.7billion for a majority stake in Absa, South Africa's largest consumer bank.


• Stephanie Villalba, who lost her sex discrimination case against investment bank Merrill Lynch last year, has failed to be awarded costs by an employment tribunal.


• The finance director of online bank Egg has been made redundant after just 18 months in the job.


• Wine group Constellation Brands and Jack Daniels maker Brown Forman have teamed up with two private equity firms for a possible rival bid for UK drinks group Allied Domecq.


• Former Tyco chief executive Dennis Kozlowski has begun his defence on the witness stand by denying stealing from the company.


• Britain's largest estate agent, Countrywide, issued a third profits warning in seven months as buyers continued to delay home purchases.


• Brewer and pub operator Wolverhampton & Dudley announced a £45.8m recommended offer for smaller rival Jennings.


• White Nile, the minnow oil company that claims it has a concession to an oil field in South Sudan, promised its shares would start trading again in "the next two to three weeks".


• Lazard could have its listing to raise nearly $1billion of debt and $1billion of equity disrupted by Britain's pensions regulator after Lazard pension trustees demanded a $95m deficit be made up because the debt means extra interest payments. 


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