Royal Dutch Shell in £1.3bn sale of stake in Aus­tralian com­pany

Yorkshire Post - Business - - CAPITAL MARKETS -

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.

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