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Major Shell investor vows to vote against £40bn BG Group takeover

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 21.04.58Standard Life Investments, the 16th largest shareholder in Shell with a 2.1pc stake, has voiced doubts that the oil price will bounce back sufficiently to make the tie-up worthwhile.

Brent crude fell again on Friday to trade at $33.55, having slumped more than 70pc since July 2014. It is believed investors feel the price needs to be around $60-$65 in order to support the deal.

Standard Life Investments also has concerns over BG’s assets in Brazil, which is at risk of heft tax bills in th struggling South American economy.

“We have concluded that the proposed terms of the acquisition of BG are value destructive for Shell shareholders, David Cumming, head of equities at the firm, said. “This view is based on the downside risks to Shell’s oil price assumptions plus the tax and operational risks surrounding BG’s Brazilian asset base. We shall vote against the deal.”

Guy Jubb, head of governance and stewardship, added: “The shareholder meetings to approve this deal are a test of investor stewardship and the responsible use of shareholder rights. We have a clear responsibility to vote our shares in the best interests of our clients.

“We have engaged with Shell to explain our views and to encourage them to re-negotiate. By voting against in respect of our clients who have an interest in Shell we are sending a clear message to Shell’s board, reinforcing our opposition to the deal on the proposed terms.”

Regulators around the world have given the green light to the deal, but Shell’s bosses still have to win over some sceptical investors. It is planning to slash $7bn (£4.7bn) of costs, $8bn of investment and 10,300 jobs if shareholders approve its plan.

A Shell spokesman said: “We’re confident the deal retains broad shareholder support and will complete as expected.”

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