The Times: Shell quits Spain and Portugal
April 04, 2004
SHELL is preparing to sell hundreds of petrol stations in Spain and Portugal.
The proceeds could be worth up to $400m (£220m) to the company, which is fighting to restore its reputation after having to reduce its proven oil reserves. But the deals could in effect take Shell out of those two markets because it has little downstream business in either country. Although the process has only just started, indicative bids are expected this month.
It is part of an overall review of Shell’s portfolio as it seeks to quit markets where it does not have a dominant position. Last year it put its Swedish business up for sale, which comprises 440 filling stations. Other assets, such as a field in Angola and North Sea gas interests are also said to be earmarked for disposal.
Giving last year’s annual results, Sir Philip Watts, the then chairman, said that Shell expected to sell at least $2 billion of assets this year.
It could be thankful for the extra cash after announcing last week that costs were rising on its $10 billion natural-gas project at Sakhalin island in Russia. Shell is also under increasing pressure to avoid bad news after announcing in January that it overbooked 3.9 billion barrels of oil.
Investors and analysts are awaiting an internal report on how this happened and whether management had been aware of the problem.