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Shell finance chief takes some chips off the table

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Royal Dutch Shell’s finance boss took advantage of the jump in the company’s share price immediately following OPEC’s decision to cut its output to sell some of his holdings in the oil producer.

According to a statement issued by the company, Simon Henry unloaded 50,000 B-shares at an individual price of 2163p, allowing him to pocket £1,081,500.

On 11 November, and in remarks to The Wall Street Journal, the firm´s executive vice president for deep-water, Wael Sawan, said Shell would invest $10bn more in the country, on top of the $30bn already deployed in South America´s largest economy.

Sawan´s remarks followed a meeting earlier in the week between Shell boss Ben van Beurden and Brazil´s new president, Michel Temer, and easier restrictions on foreign investment in such fields since Temer came to power.

More recently, on 2 November, analysts at UBS emphasised the need for Shell “to deliver” on its plans to dispose of $30bn worth of assets in order to reduce gearing and permit deployment of the operating cashflow towards a full cash dividend (and ultimately a buy-back).

That, the Swiss broker said, “will be a major catalyst to realising the full value of the Shell-BG combination in the share price. The good news is the scenario of a comfortable covering of capex and dividend commitments at <$60/bbl looks highly plausible.”

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