Sri Lanka Government Plans to Buy Back Local Gas Unit of Royal Dutch Shell

Sri Lanka’s government said it plans to take over the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, with the purchase of a 51 percent stake that it doesn’t already own.

The government has formed a committee made up of officials from four ministries, including power and petroleum, that will negotiate with Shell, Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters in Colombo today. The state currently owns a 49 percent stake in Shell Gas Lanka Ltd., the island’s largest retailer of liquefied petroleum gas.

“The government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised to stop privatizations and we will use every opportunity to buy back sold assets,” Rambukwella said.

The Sri Lankan government has agreed to buy Emirates Airline’s 43.6 percent stake in SriLankan Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier, for an undisclosed price, Chairman Nishanta Wickremasinghe said on June 4. The state already owns 51 percent of the airline.

Shell said it’s examining possible sales of LPG interests in countries including Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Singapore.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anusha Ondaatjie in Colombo at anushao@bloomberg.net

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