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Shell’s £40bn takeover of BG Group edges closer despite tumbling oil price and shareholder discontent

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Tumbling oil prices and shareholder discontent have not prevented Royal Dutch Shell’s £40billion takeover of BG Group entering the final stages.

The deal could complete in February after BG applied to the High Court to hold the shareholder meetings to vote on it in the new year.

The tie-up has been unpopular with some investors and experts who argue it does not make sense when the oil price is so low. 

The price of Brent crude plummeted to an 11-year low yesterday as excess supply continued to flood the market. 

Oil production is running close to record highs and Brent futures fell by as much as 2 per cent to a low of just above $36 a barrel, their weakest since July 2004.

The price of oil has collapsed from a 2014 peak of $115 a barrel, caused by the increased production of US shale alongside the continued output of members of oil cartel OPEC. 

The Shell-BG deal is predominantly based on the expectation that oil prices will rise to cover the higher costs of production in areas such as Australia and Brazil.

Shell first revealed details of the takeover of BG Group in April and now has the go-ahead from competition watchdogs in Brazil, China, Europe and Australia.

The weak oil price has forced oil companies around the globe to slash costs and jobs and to sell off assets. 

Earlier this month Shell said it will cut another 2,800 jobs from its and BG’s workforce – 3 per cent of the total. Shell had already announced 7,500 job cuts earlier this year.

Assuming shareholders come out in favour, BG’s shares will de-list and completion is expected in mid-February. Shell slipped 18.5p to 1450.5p and BG fell 8.2p to 899.8p.


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