BG and Shell merger given unconditional clearance

BG Group and Shell have received unconditional merger clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC had deferred the decision in late October in order to give itself more time to consider submissions on the merger, but has now concluded that the recommended cash and share offer for the company is acceptable.

There had been concerns that the proposed merger could impact gas supplies in the domestic market according to a statement released by the ACCC on 17 September.

This approval is one of the five regulatory clearances that are pre-conditions to the proposed merger and is the third pre-condition to be satisfied. On 24 July 2015, clearance was obtained from the Brazilian competition authority, CADE, and on 2 September 2015 the European Commission gave approval.

The two remaining pre-conditional approvals are from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

The pre-conditions and conditions to the combination are set out in the announcement of the proposed offer released on 8 April 2015. They would see Shell take control of BG Group’s AU$26 billion Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) Project.

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive officer Ben van Beurden said in April “This transaction fits with our strategy and our read on the industry landscape around us.

“BG will accelerate Shell’s financial growth strategy, particularly in deep water and LNG: two of Shell’s growth priorities and areas where the company is already one of the industry leaders.”

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