Royal Dutch Shell has decided to sell a majority stake in its Malaysian refining business in line with its strategy to battle reducing profits. The Anglo-Dutch firm will sell a 51% stake to Malaysian Hengyuan International Limited for $66.3m (£46.1m, €60.8m).
"The sale is consistent with Shell's strategy to concentrate its global downstream footprint and businesses where it can be most competitive," the company said, adding that Malaysia would continue to be an important country where it would invest across its retail fuels and lubricants sector.
Oil prices which were about $115 a barrel in June 2014 have slumped to $30 levels in recent times. To counter the fall, The Hague headquartered company has been selling assets and cutting jobs in an effort to save costs.
Shell, which got a nod from more than 80% of its shareholders last week for the proposed £35bn BG takeover, is planning to sell up to $30bn of assets as part of its strategy, because of which it is continuing to exit various businesses. The sale follows its recent exits such as its marketing business in Norway and Denmark, its LPG businesses in France and the sale of its 33.24% stake in Showa Shell Sekiyu KK.
Apart from selling existing businesses, the company has shelved various new projects due to concerns over declining oil prices. The latest is the $11bn gasfield development plan in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.
Shell had earlier revealed that its fourth quarter profit to December 2015 was badly hit. The profit adjusted for one-time items and inventory changes was expected to be in the $1.6bn to $1.9bn range, compared with $3bn a year ago.
Full year profits, on the other hand, which are due to be announced on 4 February, are expected to be 48% lower than 2014, according to The Telegraph. However, Shell expects that the BG acquisition, which is slated to be completed in the next two weeks, will lead to a rebound in profit.