Updates from Shell and Royal Bank of Scotland


A 16-point climb for the FTSE 100 on Thursday, finishing at 6,812.9, up +0.24%. William Hill was the biggest winner, up 3.01% to 356.20p while, by some margin, BAE Systems saw the biggest drop, plummeting 8.33% to 400.40p on lower earnings anxiety.

The Dow Jones climbed almost 93 points to 16,133.2.

We start with news that oil giant Shell is to flog its Australian downstream business for £1.6bn to Vitol. Vitol, an oil trading operation, gets Shell's Geelong refinery plus more than 850 service stations, plus elements of its lubricants business.

Dutch-owned Vitol beat off Macquarie-Glencore for the deal. It's not thought any jobs will be lost in the transaction. However Vitol does not get Shell's aviation business or the lube oil blending plant in Brisbane.

Ben van Beurden, Shell's chief exec, said Australia remains important to Shell, "but we are making tough portfolio choices to improve the company's overall competitiveness."

Next RBS, which is to slash 30,000 jobs in its investment banking division. Eighty one per cent owned by the taxpayer, RBS will also get rid of its US retail bank Citizens, which will see a further 18,000 jobs go.

There will also be a separation of its Williams and Glyn's operations. RBS, rescued by the taxpayer to the tune of £45bn, is currently under huge pressure to cut costs; it's expected to see a 2013 loss of between £7 and 8bn.

"My aspiration," says new chief exec Ross McEwan, "is to run the best bank in the UK - nothing to do with size. A lot of our costs are old costs related to a big global group that we are not any more."

Finally, information provider Informa says group organic revenue growth pushed 1.5% up to £1,132.4m (2012: £1,110.6m) with adjusted operating profit rising 1.5% to £335.5m (2012: £330.5m)

There's adjusted diluted EPS growth of 5.0% to 40.1p (2012: 38.2p). The final dividend is maintained at 12.50p; total dividend up 2.2% to 18.90p (2012: 18.50p).

"My initial sense," said new chief exec Stephen Carter in a statement, "is that there are potential opportunities across the Group's businesses from simplifying operating structures, leveraging our scale more effectively and ensuring the more intensive use of technology."