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.”
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.