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Shell Signs Letter of Intent for N.Z. Asset Sale

BLOOMBERG

By Gavin Evans

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc has signed a letter of intent to sell its New Zealand downstream assets to Infratil Ltd. and the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, Infratil said today.

While not a binding agreement, the letter does indicate a clear intention to proceed with the sale, Wellington-based Infratil said in a statement to the New Zealand stock exchange.

Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, is selling its New Zealand fuel retailing and refining interests as part of a global strategy to focus on oil and gas production in expanding markets. It agreed last month to negotiate exclusively with the Infratil-led venture on the sale of the group’s 229 filling stations, port terminals and a 17 percent stake in New Zealand Refining Co. No price has been disclosed.

Infratil fell 1 cent, or 0.6 percent, to NZ$1.64 at 11:40 a.m. in Wellington. New Zealand Refining rose 5 cents, or 1.4 percent, to NZ$3.65.

Shell has operated in New Zealand for 97 years and began exploration there in 1955. It is retaining its oil and gas assets, which include stakes in the nation’s Maui, Kapuni and Pohokura gas fields.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Evans in Wellington at [email protected]

Last Updated: December 20, 2009 17:52 EST

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