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Shell divests part of Woodside stake

14 November 2017

Shell said the the sale of 71.6 million shares would produce pre-tax proceeds of about $US1.7 billion (A$2.2 billion).

Royal Dutch Shell took another step towards completing its three-year, $30 billion divestment program with a partial sale of its stake in Woodside Petroleum to equity investors.

The sell-down capitalises on recent strength in Woodside's share price, which has been buoyed by the higher oil price.

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Earlier Monday the company had said it would sell the smaller stake for approximately $1.7 billion.

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).

In November 2010, it sold 10 percent of the issued capital of Woodside, taking its stake to 24.27 percent.

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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 a year ago that Shell "no longer [had] significant influence".

Shell said today that proceeds from its sale of Woodside shares will be used to reduce the group's net debt.

"Woodside will maintain a close working relationship with Shell - as a joint venture partner and customer of Shell technology - and we recognise that Shell will always be part of our history", Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman said in a statement.

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Shell divests part of Woodside stake