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Shell Sells 900 Australian Petrol Stations

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By Athena Yenko | February 3, 2014 2:57 PM EST

As a result of the massive decline in its annual profit announced Thursday, Shell today confirmed that it is putting its 900 Australian petrol stations for sale to recover from the 39 per cent slump of its profit. Shell also announced its plan to sell its 32 Australian fuel terminals, including the Geelong refinery which had been in the market since the early quarter of 2013.

Shell said that there was already a potential buyer for the refinery and the stations, but they prefer to keep mum about the buyer.

Company Chief Executive Ben Van Beurden says he will not reveal the details.

"We have an expression of interest in our downstream business in Australia refining and part of our marketing businesses and that's frankly all I can say about it at this stage," Mr Van Beurden told ABC.

"We never comment on things that are ongoing in the M&A (mergers and acquisitions) space. If there is something to announce we will do that as soon as the milestone is there," Mr Beurden added.

As for their decision on its Gladstone LNG project, details were not final yet.

"We are sorting through all our options in LNG, including Arrow, to see how we take it forward ... and therefore it will be a matter of prioritising and phasing because we can't do them all. So this will be a high-grading exercise rather than a searching exercise."

Some of the world's big name in the trade were reportedly eyeing Shell's asset. However, small time traders were also hopeful as big traders can possibly discard some as what 7-Eleven did in 2010 when it bought Mobil's 295 Australian petrol stations.

The unnamed buyer of Shell may mimic this buying style, as analysed by Colin Long of Service Station Associations.

''When they bought the Mobil sites, 7-Eleven did discard some, so there could be opportunities for independent people to buy up if that happens again. They offered a couple of sites to the operators and a couple of our members were able to buy some Mobil sites from 7-Eleven when they didn't want them. The sites are too valuable and in very good locations, so they are not going to disappear off the face of the earth.''

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