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Shell Unlikely to Sell Woodside This Year as Price Undervalued

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc is unlikely to proceed with the planned disposal of its holding in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. this year as it refuses to sell too low.

Shell “eventually would sell the stake, it’s no longer strategic,” Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry told reporters today at the annual general meeting in The Hague. “We’re not going to sell below value.” He declined to comment on a price.

Woodside, Australia’s second-largest oil producer, in 2013 halted plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant estimated to cost $45 billion for its Browse LNG project. The company said in April it was studying cheaper options and may delay the next stage of the A$15 billion ($14.7 billion) Pluto LNG project.

“The market understandably until now has not really given value for Browse,” Henry said. “If there is progress there, then maybe that creates opportunities. If the market recognizes the value of Browse, it would value the shares more fairly.”

Shell, Woodside’s largest holder with a 23 percent holding, said last year the stake didn’t fit with its long-term plans.

Shell sold 10 percent at A$42.23 a share in November 2010. The stock closed down 1.6 percent at A$37.66 in Australia today, paring the gains in the shares this year to 11 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net; Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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