Shell to offload $2.2 billion Woodside stake

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell 71.6m shares in Woodside Petroleum to two investment banks, cutting its holding in the company to 4.8%.

The sale represents 64 per cent of Shell's stake in Woodside and 8.5 per cent of Woodside's issued capital, Shell said.

Several hours later, the Anglo-Dutch company said in another statement that "following strong demand from institutional investors", SEHAL upsized its sale to 111.8 million shares worth a total of $2.7 billion before tax proceeds.

Shell announced in London that it had agreed to sell down nearly two thirds of its remaining stake Woodside Petroleum for $US1.7 billion ($A2.2 billion).

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

Shell sold a 10 per cent interest in November 2010 and another 9.5 per cent in June 2014, taking its holding to just over 13 per cent.

After being diluted further because of a decision not to participate in Woodside's dividend reinvestment programme, and what Shell said was a "change in Shell's level of involvement over Woodside's financial and operating policy decisions", management concluded previous year that Shell "no longer [had] significant influence". "Proceeds from the sale will contribute to reducing our net debt".

Shell will remain joint venture partner in two liquefied natural gas projects in Australia, according to Woodside.

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