Shell cuts interest in Woodside Petroleum to just under 5%

Woodside's Pluto LNG plant

Due to strong demand from equity investors, however, Shell announced in a separate statement today it would sell 111.8 million shares for pre-tax proceeds of $2.7 billion (A$3.5 billion).

"This sale is another step towards the completion of our three-year, $US30 billion divestment program, which is an important part of our strategy to reshape Shell, to deliver a world-class investment case, and to strengthen our financial framework", Shell's chief financial officer, Jessica Uhl, said.

Owing to "strong demand from institutional investors", the Anglo-Dutch energy group said it had offloaded the entirety of its 13.28-percent stake, just hours after it announced that it had made a decision to sell 8.5 percent of Woodside. The announcements came after the close of trade on the Australian bourse, where Woodside ended 1 percent lower at A$32.24 a share.

Shell announced in London that it had agreed to sell down nearly two thirds of its remaining stake Woodside Petroleum for $US1.7 billion ($A2.2 billion). Shell has been selling out of Woodside for some time.

Equity capital markets teams from a number of global banks had been asked earlier on Monday to submit bids and lock in cornerstone investors, a banking source requesting anonymity told Reuters.

Australia blocked a takeover bid by Shell for Woodside in 2001 on national interest grounds. But in 2010, it sold a 10% stake, and a further 9.5% in June 2014.

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