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Fiji Times: French sign Shell deal

Friday, July 21, 2006

THE sales and purchase agreement for French company Total Oil to buy Shell Fiji Ltd has been signed, says Shell Fiji’s general manager Peter Walsh.

The agreement is subject to the Government’s approval, which is required for Total Oil to trade in the country, Mr Walsh said.

He said the Government’s approval was now being sought.

Shell Ltd finalised the sale of its business in Fiji, Tonga, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and French Polynesia a week ago.

Mr Walsh said all the company’s sales were conditional upon Government’s approval and were expected to be completed by late 2006 or early 2007.

He said the agreements covered Shell’s distribution, marine, lubricants, commercial fuels and retail businesses.

Total Oil will purchase Shell businesses in Fiji and Tonga while Albert Moux and Partners will purchase businesses in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and French Polynesia.

Total Oil is a French company partly owned by the French government. Shell PNG was sold to Inter Oil Products Ltd.

Mr Walsh had earlier said the status of Shell’s businesses in the Solomon Islands and its aviation business in the Cook Islands would be announced later.

He also said earlier that from Shell’s perspective, the business in the Pacific Islands remained small, which was the reason it was being sold. The businesses had a history of good cash and operational performance.

He said Shell was focusing its portfolio toward fewer, larger scale business and the business was of higher value to the purchasing companies, which, he added, had differing management priorities and capital focus to that of Shell.

He said one of the biggest impacts of the transaction was around staff and Shell had negotiated that these businesses be sold as going concerns in recognition that the quality of their staff was a significant element of the value of these businesses.

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