THE LONDON TIMES: Shell's rise fuelled by rumours of Australian adventure: “Dealing rooms picked up on speculation that the oil group could again attempt to take control of Woodside Petroleum, the Australian oil and gas group in which it holds a 34 per cent stake. UBS analysts in Australia said a deal for Woodside would be a logical move for the company and would go some way to increasing reserves. Last year the group reclassified some of its proven reserves.” (ShellNews.net) 8 April 05
By Joe Bolger
Larger capitalisation shares
April 08, 2005
THE prospect of a reserves-boosting raid on an Australian peer gave Shell a lift, invigorating shares in the oil group during an active trading session.
Some 120 million shares changed hands during the day, compared with an average daily turnover of about 57 million.
Dealing rooms picked up on speculation that the oil group could again attempt to take control of Woodside Petroleum, the Australian oil and gas group in which it holds a 34 per cent stake. UBS analysts in Australia said a deal for Woodside would be a logical move for the company and would go some way to increasing reserves. Last year the group reclassified some of its proven reserves.
Shell’s previous attempt at a takeover in 2001 was blocked by authorities, but the Swiss broker said it would be wrong to assume an automatic rejection after a four-year gap.
Shell has made some headway, returning to a recent high of 505½p that was reached in February, ending the day up 12p at 496p.
The benchmark FTSE 100 index moved to within reach of the 5,000 level, shrugging off higher oil prices to end up 29.6 points at 4,977.0 — a three-week high.
Whitbread was off 5p at 938p after a research note from Panmure Gordon suggested that the leisure group’s plans to dispose of its four-star hotels in a complex deal with Marriott International of the US are not as positive as first thought. Stuart Price, a Panmure analyst, reckons that Marriott stands to benefit more from the deal and that Whitbread is effectively giving away £140 million of value.
Investors in Exel took some profits as hopes of an approach from Deutsche Post eased. Earlier in the week the German owner of DHL unveiled plans to raise billions of euros to fund acquisitions. At the time it was rumoured that the group had a single target in mind, but yesterday dealers said it may not be looking to grow in the logistics market and could instead pursue a number of smaller deals. The shares lost 9½p to 888p.
A late trade in BG Group saw a 50 million share trade go through the system. The shares put on 10¾p to 430¼p amid continuing speculation that the group is a potential takeover target.
Smith & Nephew made further gains after Monday’s news that it had received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice. The company’s shares, which lost 25p to 497p last week, put on 9½p to 528p on talk that the recent fall had been overdone and that the replacement hips maker could withstand any fines imposed against it.
NEW YORK: Stocks gained strength from falling crude oil prices and comments from a Federal Reserve official that helped to keep inflation fears under wraps. The Dow Jones industrial average closed 60.30 points higher at 10,546.30.
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