Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) is close to selling its gas station network in Argentina to Brazil’s Raízen Energia, Reuters has reported. The disposal would come as the Anglo-Dutch energy giant looks to offload a string of assets to shore up its balance sheet in the wake of the BG Group acquisition.
Shell’s share price has been little changed in London this morning, having lost 0.07 percent to 2,133.00p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.20 percent higher at 7,421.74 points. The group’s shares have added nearly nine percent to their value over the past year, and are up by just under four percent in the year-to-date.
Sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters yesterday that Raízen, which controls Brazil’s second-largest chain of gasoline stations, was close to buying Shell’s Argentina gas station network for more than $1 billion. The group’s non-binding bid reportedly topped rival offers by Argentine oil company YPF SA, Chile’s Quinenco SA QNN.SN and China National Petroleum Corp’s Petrochina. The four companies participated in a competitive auction process overseen by Credit Suisse.
In Brazil, Raízen’s gas station network uses the Shell brand. The sources had further indicated to the newswire that Raízen Chief Executive Officer Luis Henrique Guimarães had personally engaged in the acquisition talks.
Shell, which has 630 Argentine gas stations, put the unit up for sale earlier this year as part of its $30-billion divestment programme to cut debt following last year’s acquisition of BG Group. Last month, the Anglo-Dutch group inked a deal to sell its stake in a gas venture in Ireland for up to $1.23 billion, with the disposal marking the company’s exit from its upstream business in the country.