Daily Telegraph (UK): Dutch pipe sale earns Shell £960m: “Shell, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, yesterday put its troubles temporarily behind it with the news that it was netting €1.39billion (£967m) from the sale of its share of the Netherlands' gas pipeline networks.” (ShellNews.net)
By Christopher Hope, Business Correspondent (Filed: 02/11/2004)
Shell, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, yesterday put its troubles temporarily behind it with the news that it was netting €1.39billion (£967m) from the sale of its share of the Netherlands' gas pipeline networks.
Under the deal the Dutch government takes full control of the pipeline network, which is 50pc controlled by Shell and ExxonMobil. Shell has had a stake since first finding gas in northern Holland in the 1960s.
Shell and Exxon are sharing a €2.78billion payment for their stakes in Gasunie, the Dutch gas company. Sources said the Dutch government, which had been in talks since 2000, was keen to take back control of its supply network.
The deal should complete in the middle of next year. Michael O'Callaghan, chief executive of Shell Energy Europe, said: "The envisaged agreement is a further milestone in developing our strategy of active portfolio management."
Oil analysts welcomed the deal. Bruce Evers, analyst at Investec Securities, said that Shell was "selling out to reinvest in their business with a higher rate of return. It is tinkering at the edges but every little helps."
Mark Henderson, analyst at Commerzbank, said: "This is an important step for the creation of more liquidity and deeper competition."
Meanwhile, Shell declined to comment on reports that it planned to boost senior directors' pay after the shake-up of its dual structure.
A spokesman said: " Any changes in executive remuneration will be disclosed in the 2004 annual reports to be published in the spring. We have no further comment."