News Column

Shell cutting stake to raise $5b

June 17, 2014

Bloomberg News

Sydney:Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, is selling most of its 23 per cent stake in Woodside Petroleum, raising about $5 billion in Australia's biggest energy deal.

Shell is selling 78.3 million shares to investors, while the Australian company is buying back the same amount of stock from Shell, The Hague-based company said today in a statement. That's about 19 per cent of Woodside, whose attraction as a potential takeover target may be revived.

The sell-down from its almost four-decade long holding is part of Shell chief executive officer Ben van Beurden's pledge to accelerate asset sales to free up cash for new projects after taking over from Peter Voser this year. Woodside CEO Peter Coleman, who scrapped a deal last month to invest as much as $2.6 billion in an Israeli gas project, said today the buyback won't affect his company's capacity to pursue acquisitions.

Van Beurden plans to dispose of about $15 billion in assets through 2015 and promised earlier this year to slash spending to revive earnings.

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Source: Times of Oman

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