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Irish Times: Shell seems unable to put a foot right here

12 January 2007

It’s getting worse and worse for Shell, the energy multinational that seems unable to put a foot right in Ireland.

Mired in relentless protest at the controversial Corrib gas site in Mayo, it now emerges that the group that bought out its Irish oil distribution business in 2005 has clawed back half its money by selling off a few filling stations.

Shell realised about 160 million on the sell-out but the acquirer, Topaz, reveals today that it has already taken in 80 million through shrewd leverage of the property assets in the filling station network.

That’s hardly inspiring form from Shell. But then, the group was very busy in Ireland in 2005. Whatever the merits of the argument from the Rossport Five, their imprisonment for 94 days that year did little to advance Shell’s cause in Mayo.

Adherence to the rule of law is one thing.

The Topaz deal suggests Shell missed out on the most basic rules of business.

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