Royal Dutch/Shell Group said second-quarter profit dropped 39 percent, more than analysts expected, as a slowing economy hurt margins from making gasoline.
Net income declined to $2.21 billion from $3.61 billion a year ago. That equaled 69 euro cents a share at Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. in Amsterdam and 6 pence a share at Shell Transport & Trading Co. in London. Shell shares in London slid as much as 5.1 percent after the result.
An 88 percent plunge in refining margins in Europe was the worst ``in living memory,'' Chairman Philip Watts said in an interview. Bigger rival Exxon Mobil Corp. later today is expected by analysts to report per-share profit fell 28 percent, in part because of the industry's slump.
``If they can't tackle their lower refining margin environment, I don't think anybody else can,'' said Angus McPhail, an analyst at ING Financial Markets with a ``buy'' recommendation on Shell.