…saddled with a mountain of debt…
By SARAH KENT: Jan. 3, 2017 7:00 a.m. ET
LONDON— Royal Dutch Shell PLC has a goal for 2017: Slimming down. The British-Dutch oil-and-gas giant bulked up in February with the roughly $50 billion acquisition of BG Group PLC, giving Shell a dominant position in liquefied natural gas and some of the world’s most prized offshore oil fields in Brazil. It also saddled the company with a mountain of debt—$78 billion at the end of the third quarter—that is higher than peers such as Exxon Mobil Corp.
Executing more deals is crucial for retaining shareholder confidence in Shell’s ability to keep paying its dividend and reduce its debt levels. Its debt-to-equity ratio of 29% is higher than its four major competitors: Exxon, Chevron Corp., BP PLC and Total SA.