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更新时间:2015-4-10 10:30:15 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Royal Dutch Shell to Buy BG Group for Nearly $70 Billion

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy the BG Group for nearly $70 billion, creating a formidable global player in the fast-growing business of producing and selling liquefied natural gas.

伦敦——荷兰皇家壳牌(Royal Dutch Shell)本周三表示,已达成协议,将以近700亿美元(约合4200亿元人民币)的价格收购BG集团(BG Group)。液化天然气生产和销售业务正在快速增长,合并后的公司将成为该领域的全球巨鳄。

BG, which was once part of British Gas, is particularly attractive to Shell because it is a major player in liquefied natural gas, whose use is growing fast despite a recent slump in prices.

BG曾经属于英国天然气公司(British Gas),之所以对壳牌具有特别的吸引力,是因为它在液化天然气业务中扮演了重要角色。尽管近期价格猛跌,但液化天然气的使用量却在快速增长。

To make gas a global commodity, companies are increasingly cooling it into liquid form, shrinking its volume for transportation on specialized ships. Shell has invested tens of billions of dollars in liquefied natural gas production plants, storage terminals and related systems in recent years.


Ben van Beurden, the chief executive officer of Shell, appears to be calculating that low oil prices offer an opportunity to gain assets at a comparatively low cost, despite the premium Shell has offered to pay for BG.

看起来,壳牌的首席执行官本·范伯登(Ben van Beurden)进行了盘算,觉得油价下跌提供了一个用相对低廉的成本来购置资产的机会,即便壳牌向BG开出的收购价存在溢价。

In a call with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. van Beurden said that the current period of low oil prices was analogous to the doldrums of the late 1990s, when industry executives like John Browne of BP began a wave of mergers.

本周三与记者通电话时,范伯登表示,现在油价低迷的状况类似于上世纪90年代末,当时像BP的约翰·布朗(John Browne)这样的行业高管掀起了一股并购风潮。

In recent years, the oil majors have fallen out of favor with investors as a result of rising costs, falling returns and poor success rates in exploration. Their share prices and earnings have been battered by a roughly 50 percent drop in oil prices since June.


By acquiring BG, Shell hopes to further increase scale and profit in two areas in which it is already a global leader. The first is liquefied natural gas, a sector that is expected to grow as Asia, particularly China, burns more gas to fuel economic growth and to reduce air pollution from coal. The second is deepwater drilling, most significantly for oil, including in the Gulf of Mexico and off Nigeria.


BG would also bring to Shell a strong position in Brazil, which is expected to become a leader in production, despite problems at Petrobras, the state oil company.


Shell estimates that the combined company has the potential to increase production in Brazil tenfold, to 550,000 barrels of oil and gas a day.


Shell said the deal would add 25 percent to its proven reserves of oil and gas and would increase production by 20 percent, bolstered by BG’s Brazilian holdings and its liquefied natural gas project in Australia. Shell expects the deal to yield pretax annual savings of about $2.5 billion.


Shell said that it would pay for the acquisition with a mix of cash and stock, with BG shareholders receiving 383 pence a share in cash, and 0.4454 B shares in Shell for each BG share held. BG shareholders would own 19 percent of the combined company.


The price is a 50 percent premium to BG’s closing share price on Tuesday. BG shares have fallen about 30 percent since global oil prices started their steep slide in June.


Shell investors were far less enthusiastic about the deal than BG shareholders were: Shares in Shell fell about 7 percent, and BG’s stock soared about 31 percent in afternoontrading in Europe.


The companies expect the deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approval, to be completed early next year.


“Bold, strategic moves shape our industry,” Mr. van Beurden of Shell said in a statement. “BG and Shell are a great fit.”


He continued, “This transaction fits with our strategy and our read on the industry landscape around us.”


Mr. van Beurden said that Shell had been scanning takeover opportunities, with BG “always at the top of the list.” Mr. van Beurden said that he initiated the deal by calling Andrew Gould, BG’s chairman, and that “a very good discussion” ensued.

范伯登称,壳牌一直在寻找收购机会,而BG“总是我们的首选”。范伯登表示,他给BG集团董事长安德鲁·古尔德(Andrew Gould)打了电话,提议进行交易,然后进行了“富有成效的讨论”。

Mr. Gould said during the same call that he and the BG chief executive, Helge Lund, were looking forward to turning BG around. Mr. Gould said that Mr. Lund, a former chief executive of Statoil of Norway who took the helm of BG in February, would assure a smooth transition and then “probably move along.”

古尔德在与范伯登进行此番通话时表示,他和BG首席执行官黑尔格·伦德(Helge Lund)希望让BG的情况有所好转。古尔德称,伦德会确保顺利交接,然后“很可能不会逗留”。伦德曾是挪威国家石油公司(Statoil)的首席执行官,于今年2月执掌BG集团。

If completed, the sale would be a rare bright spot for energy deal makers, as oil and gas companies have largely hunkered down while petroleum prices have plunged. Potential sellers have been leery of making deals during what they consider a temporary dip, creating an often unbridgeable gap with interested buyers.


Many companies have instead turned to the stock markets to raise cash and bolster their balance sheets.


That calculus could change if Shell and BG merge. A deal of this size could inspire some wavering would-be sellers to pursue deals. Advisers say they expect merger activity to pick up this year, particularly once oil prices show more stability.


Consolidation could allow oil companies to cut costs and bulk up their presence in attractive sources of oil and gas.


BG would be Shell’s biggest deal by far. The company’s largest acquisition to date was its purchase of a 22 percent stake in Shell Canada for about $7 billion.

BG收购案将会成为壳牌历史上最大宗的交易,把目前的记录远远甩在后面。它曾出资70亿美元收购壳牌加拿大公司(Shell Canada)22%的股份,这是迄今为止该公司规模最大的收购案。

BG had long been rumored to be a takeover candidate, but recent troubles may have made it vulnerable. The company has been unable recently to fulfill its export commitments of liquefied natural gas from Egypt because the Egyptian government has taken too much gas for domestic consumption.


BG reported a $1.1 billion loss in 2014, largely because of write-offs as a result of lower oil and gas prices.


BG has also experienced leadership turmoil recently. Last year, the company’s chief executive, Chris Finlayson, resigned suddenly and was replaced by Mr. Lund.

BG最近还经历了领导层的动荡。去年,集团首席执行官克里斯·芬利森(Chris Finlayson)突然辞职,伦德取而代之。