Royal Dutch Shell in £1.3bn sale of stake in Australian company
OIL GIANT Royal Dutch Shell is selling part of its stake in Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum to equity investors for around £1.3bn.
Shell, which has been slowly divesting its Woodside holding, said its Shell Energy Holdings Australia Limited (SEHAL) unit had struck a deal with two investment banks over the sale of 71.6 million Woodside shares for £18.19 apiece.
The oil major said that represented 64 per cent of its interest in Woodside and 8.5 per cent of the issued capital in Woodside.
Upon completion of the sale, SEHAL will own a 4.8 per cent interest in Woodside.
Shell has so far sold or agreed to sell over $26bn as part of a three-year, $30bn asset sales programme launched following the acquisition of BG Group in 2015.
Jessica Uhl, chief financial officer at Shell, said: “Proceeds from the sale will contribute to reducing our net debt.”
Equity capital markets teams from a number of international banks had been asked to submit bids and lock in cornerstone investors, according to a banking source.
Shell said it had agreed not to dispose of any of its remaining shares in Woodside for a minimum of 90 days from completion of the latest sale.
Even before Shell set out to sell assets, it was distancing itself from Woodside.
In November 2010, it sold 10 per cent of the issued capital of Woodside, taking its stake to 24.27 per cent. This was further diluted to 23.08 per cent after Shell decided not to participate in Woodside’s dividend re-investment programme. In June 2014, Shell sold another 9.5 per cent of Woodside’s issued shares.