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Merrill sees Shell oil disposals at $15 bln

CBS.MarketWatch: Merrill sees Shell oil disposals at $15 bln

By Emily Church

20 August 04

LONDON (CBS.MW) — Merrill Lynch Friday upgraded its rating on oil major Royal Dutch/Shell to buy from neutral, citing in part its expectation that disposals at the group over 2004 and 2005 could reach $15 billion.

Shell is expected in November to detail its review into corporate structure. “Performance catch up is going to be a long haul in our view, but we can’t help but think that there is now limited absolute and relative downside risk if new management can grasp the opportunity for change,” Merrill said.

Shell has this year announced a handful of divestments and in July announced plans to sell its 50 percent stake in the Basell chemical venture with BASF that has been valued at around $7 billion. Shell Trade and Transport shares in London were up 0.4 percent at 397.75 pence.

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