Royal Dutch Shell has disposed its entire stake in Australia’s oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum to equity investors for a sum of $2.7bn as a part of its current divestment programme.
The company’s subsidiary Shell Energy Holdings Australia (SEHAL) signed an initial agreement with two investment banks to sell 71.6 million shares in Woodside at a price of $23.79 per share, amounting to total pre-tax proceeds of nearly $1.7bn.
SEHAL then later agreed to sell its entire 13.28% stake, or 111.8 million shares, in Woodside for total pre-tax proceeds of $2.7bn.
Shell noted the company’s decision to upsize its divestment agreement was based on strong demand from institutional investors.
During the initial announcement, Shell chief financial officer Jessica Uhl said: “This sale is another step towards the completion of our three-year, $30bn divestment programme, which is an important part of our strategy to reshape Shell, to deliver a world class investment case, and to strengthen our financial framework.
“Proceeds from the sale will contribute to reducing our net debt.”
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The divestment of Woodside Petroleum was completed in multiple phases and began with the selling of 10% of the company’s issued capital in November 2010.
Shell retained a 24.27% interest in Woodside, which was subsequently diluted to 23.08%.
The company later sold nearly 78.27 million Woodside shares to divest 9.5% of its stake in June 2014, retaining 13.58%.
Shell’s final interest diluted to 13.28% following its decision to again opt out from Woodside’s dividend re-investment programme.
The company’s participating interest in other Australian ventures remains unaffected.