Royal Dutch Shell's profits fell by more than a quarter in the three months to the end of June, as lower oil prices weighed on earnings.

For the second quarter, earnings dipped 26% to under 3.5 billion dollars (£2.9 billion).

In total, first half earnings dropped 13% to 8.8 billion dollars (£7.3 billion).

The company said it had suffered from weaker pricing in the industry.

Total production increased by 4% in the second quarter to 3.6 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, but in the same period liquid prices were 8% lower and gas prices were down 13%.

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Chief executive Ben van Beurden said: "We have delivered good cash flow performance, despite earnings volatility, in a quarter that has seen challenging macroeconomic conditions in refining and chemicals as well as lower gas prices."

Dividends were left unchanged at 94 cents (78p) per share for the first half.

Shares in the company were down more than 4% in early trading on Thursday, dragging on the FTSE 100 of which Shell is a major constituent.

The group also said it would launch the third tranche of its share buyback programme, with repurchases set to total 2.75 billion dollars (£2.27 billion) over the next quarter.

Since the launch of the share buyback programme in October, Shell has bought back 294 million 'A' shares for 9.25 billion dollars (£7.63 billion).

The 25 billion dollar (£19.7 billion) share buyback is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

In June, bosses also revealed plans to hand over 125 billion dollars (£98 billion) to shareholders over five years, after selling non-core businesses.

Legoland, Edinburgh Dungeon and Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments has posted a 22% fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £34 million for the six months to June 29.

It said visitor numbers rose 3% to 30.8 million and added that results were "broadly" in line with its expectations in what is traditionally its quieter period.

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The figures come after Merlin agreed a £5.9 billion takeover bid in June from Lego's owners, a private equity giant and a Canadian pension fund.

Merlin has recommended the bid from Kirkbi, the investment vehicle of Lego's Danish founding family, Blackstone and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin, said: "Group performance year to date has been broadly in line with our expectations in the seasonally quieter first half of the year."

He added: "Trading in Legoland Parks has however been more disappointing.

"Although we enjoyed a strong Easter and spring break performance, trading since then has been affected by poor weather in May and June, difficult market conditions in a number of countries and limited momentum from The Lego Movie 2."

Britain's manufacturing sector remained in decline in July, new figures show.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) stayed flat at a reading 48 in July, the same as in June.

A reading above 50 indicates growth.

The manufacturing figures, one of the earliest indicators of the strength of an economy, surpassed analyst expectations, with last month's performance predicted to dip to 47.7 points.

However, the index remained at a six-year low and marked the third consecutive month of decline for the British manufacturing sector.

The figures came shortly after the Eurozone's manufacturing sector revealed it saw the sharpest decline in performance since 2012, last month.