Shell cuts interest in Woodside Petroleum to just under 5%

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Shell has struck a deal sell $2.2 billion in Woodside shares, reducing its stake in Australia's biggest oil and gas company to 4.8 per cent.

The sale represents 64 per cent of Shell's stake in Woodside and 8.5 per cent of Woodside's issued capital, Shell said.

Earlier this month, Shell said it had managed to earn more than $25 billion from non-core asset sales under its programme ending next year.

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The disposal will help reduce net debt, is part of a $3US0bn divestment by Shell as it seeks to improve its financial performance. The sale increase was a result of the "strong demand" from institutional investors, Shell said.

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

Shell sold a 10 per cent interest in November 2010 and another 9.5 per cent in June 2014, taking its holding to just over 13 per cent.

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Shell decided that due its reduced holding it was no longer having any significant influence over Woodside and changed its stake from an associate holding to an investment.

"Woodside will maintain a close working relationship with Shell - as a joint venture partner and customer of Shell technology - and we recognize that Shell will always be part of our history", Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman said in a statement.

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