Oil giant Shell raises dividend and launches $2 billion share buyback as commodity prices soar

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Oil giant Shell raises dividend and launches $2 billion share buyback as commodity prices soar

LONDON â" ” Oil giant on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings, lending further support to the energy major's plans to reduce net debt and reward investors. The Anglo-Dutch company reported adjusted earnings of $5.5 billion for the three months through to the end of June. That compared with over the same period a year earlier and for the first quarter of 2021. Analysts had expected second-quarter adjusted earnings to come in at $5.1 billion, according to Refinitiv. Shell boosted its dividend for the second consecutive quarter and announced the launch of a $2 billion share buyback program that it aims to complete by the end of the year. The dividend rose to 24 cents in the second quarter, up 38% from the first three months of the year. It comes a year after the company moved to cut its dividend to shareholders for the first time since World War II. "We have to make sure that our current shareholder base is pleased with what we do in terms of payouts," Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Thursday, reflecting on the firm's plans to step up its shareholder distributions. "We have to have a strong cash…