Belfast Telegraph

Shell sells 31.2% stake in Japan's Showa Shell as part of divestment initiative

Shell has sold off a 31.2% stake in Japan's Showa Shell Sekiyu for 1.4 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion).

The sale, to oil refiner Idemitsu, follows anti-trust approval from the Japan Fair Trade Commission. Shell will retain a 3.8% stake in the company.

The deal is part of Shell's 30 billion US dollar (£24.6 billion) divestment initiative. To this end, the oil giant has also sold off its Australian aviation fuel business to Viva Energy Australia for 250 million US dollars (£200 million).

Shell, which completed a 50 billion US dollar (£38 billion) acquisition of BG Group earlier this year, is also embarking on an ambitious cost-cutting drive as the industry grapples with historically low oil price.

Brent crude is trading at around 55 US dollars a barrel after the price was buoyed by a production freeze from non-Opec members earlier this month.

In November, Shell swung into profit in the third quarter as the cost-cutting and divestment programme began to bear fruit.

However, chief executive Ben van Beurden warned that the outlook for the industry remains uncertain.