Shell sells £1.3bn stake in Australia's Woodside Petroleum

Shell sells £1.3bn stake in Australia's Woodside Petroleum

Shell said its unit, Shell Energy Holdings Australia Limited (SEHAL), had entered into an agreement with two investment banks for the sale of 71.6 million shares in Woodside for 31.10 Australian dollars (US$23.79) per share. The sale, which is expected to complete on Tuesday, will result in total pre-tax proceeds of around $1.7bn (A$2.2bn).

Owing to "strong demand from institutional investors", the Anglo-Dutch energy group said it had offloaded the entirety of its 13.28-percent stake, just hours after it announced that it had chose to sell 8.5 percent of Woodside. The announcement came after Perth-based company's stock closed at $32.24.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB) has disposed of its entire stake in Woodside Petroleum after being swamped by demand for the shares by institutional shareholders. Sale proceeds will be used to reduce Shell's net debt, Jessica Uhl, chief financial officer of Shell, said in the statement.

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Originally, Shell it agreed to retain a 4.8% stake but such was the demand it made a decision to sell the whole lot to raise US$2.7bn (A$3.5bn).

Equity capital markets teams from a number of worldwide banks had been asked earlier on Monday to submit bids and lock in cornerstone investors, a banking source requesting anonymity told Reuters.

In June 2014, Shell sold another 9.5 percent of Woodside's issued shares, dropping its interest to 13.28 percent after again opting out of the dividend reinvestment scheme.