Shell to offload $2.2 billion Woodside stake

Woodside's Pluto LNG plant

Woodside's Pluto LNG

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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