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The Times: Shell sells Sinopec stake


By Our Business Staff

March 17, 2004  


Shell announced today that it has sold its two per cent stake in Sinopec, the Chinese oil giant, for $742 million (400m)


The Anglo-Dutch company sold around 1.9 billion shares at HK$3.125 each, a 3.8 per cent discount to this morning's closing price of HK$3.25.


The sale follows a similar move by Shell's rival BP, which sold its holdings in Sinopec and Petrochina earlier this year. Shell has doubled its money since it bought Sinopec shares during the largely state-owned company's initial public offering almost four years ago.


In a separate development, the US Justice Department is to investigate whether Shell executives violated any laws by delaying the announcement of shortfalls in the company's proven oil and gas reserves, according to reports today.


The claim, made in today's New York Times, follows a report in the same newspaper last week that Jeroen van der Veer, Shell's recently appointed chairman, and Judy Boynton, the company's chief financial officer, were both aware that the company faced reserve shortfalls as long ago as 2002.


It was alleged that company documents revealed that the Shell was aware that its reports had fallen out of line with SEC guidelines.


In January Shell shocked the markets by announcing it had overestimated its oil and gas reserves by 20 per cent. Investor pressure led to the ousting of Sir Philip Watts as chairman of the Anglo-Dutch company.


It has also been suggested that Sir Philip and Walter van de Vijver, the former head of Shell's exploration did not receive bonuses in 2003.


Shell's annual report is due for released on Friday.


Shell shares stood 0.25p lower at 368.25p in afternoon trade.,,8903-1041550,00.html

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