Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) said Tuesday it will sell most of its stake in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum for $5.7 billion, marking the latest move by the oil giant to reshape its portfolio.
The deal will cut Shell’s stake in Woodside, the second-largest oil and gas producer in Australia, from 23.1% to about 4.5%. Shell plans to sell a 9.5% stake to institutional investors at a slight discount compared to Woodside’s closing price on Monday. The company will also send a 9.5% interest back to Woodside.
Shell expects to receive $5 billion in proceeds after tax. It agreed to retain its 4.5% stake for at least 90 days.
“Today’s announcement is part of our drive to improve Shell's capital efficiency and to focus our Australia growth in directly owned assets,” chief executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement.
The Anglo-Dutch oil company has been shedding assets to focus on its most profitable businesses and add to its coffers after years of making big investments. In fiscal 2013, Shell saw its earnings drop 38% year-over-year, and capital spending exceeded guidance by 15%.
Australia has been at the center of several deals this year. In January, Shell reached a $1.14 billion agreement to sell its interest in an Australian natural gas project. Shell also agreed to take $2.6 billion for its refinery and gas stations in the country.
The Woodside deal is the biggest so far during the tenure of van Beurden, who took charge of Shell in January. Shell hopes to unload about $15 billion worth of assets by the end of next year.
U.S. shares of Shell fell 47 cents, or 0.6%, to $80.30 in recent trading. Through Monday’s close, Shell was up 13.3% on the year.