- Global oil company Royal Dutch Shell reported a 37% increase in third-quarter profit to $5.6bn from $4.1bn a year earlier, boosted by higher realised oil, gas and LNG prices.

The company distributed total dividends of $3.9bn to shareholders in the quarter and, in October, it completed the first tranche of its share buyback programme. It bought back almost 61m A ordinary shares for cancellation for an aggregate consideration of $2bn.

On Thursday, the firm launched the second tranche of the programme, with a maximum aggregate consideration of $2.5bn in the period up to and including January 28, 2019.

"Good operational delivery across all Shell businesses produced one of our strongest-ever quarters, with cash flow from operations of $14.7bn, excluding working capital movements. Our strong financial performance allowed us to cover the cash dividend, interest payments, share buybacks and to further pay down debt," said Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden.

Total dividends distributed to shareholders in the quarter were $3.9 billion. The company also announced a dividend of $0.47 - in line with 2017's Q3 dividend - for the third quarter of 2018 for its A and B ordinary shares, which was to be paid on 19 December.

The fourth-quarter dividend would be announced on 31 January 2019 with payment on 25 March, the company said in its dividend timetable for the coming year.

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