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European oil giant Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A - Free Report) and co-partners Eneco Holding N.V. and Mistubishi are set to divest a combined 45% stake in two Dutch offshore wind farm projects. Notably, the fourth co-partner in the projects, Van Oord NV, will retain its stake.

The two wind farms — Borssele III and IV — are located off the port city of Zeeland in the Netherlands and have a combined capacity of 700 megawatts. The total cost of development of the farms is estimated to be $1.4 billion and the construction is expected to be completed by 2020. The vending will enable the companies garner proceeds of around $630 million. Subject to satisfactory closing conditions, the process is likely to complete by the end of this year.

Notably, these are the first large-scale offshore wind projects undertaken by Shell. The company intends to reduce its ownership in the projects due to their capital extensive nature. With the divestment, the company will be able to recoup half the investment it made in the projects. The move is also in sync with Shell’s strategy to concentrate on the development of the primary stages of such wind farms and avoid holding them for longer term as returns tend to decrease. Thus the proceeds will enable the company to deploy funds in more profitable projects.

The move will help Shell proceed with its $30-billion divestment program, which is aimed at lowering debt arising from the $47-billion acquisition of BG Group. The latest divestment is expected to enhance Shell’s cash flows and return value to shareholders. The move is also in line with the company's aim to upgrade and streamline its portfolio.

Headquartered in Netherlands, Shell is one of the largest integrated energy companies, engaged in production, refining, distribution and marketing of oil and natural gas. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Shares of Shell have rallied 12% year to date compared with 0.5% growth of its industry.

 

Some better-ranked players in the energy space are Lonestar Resources, Ltd. (LONE - Free Report) , Viper Energy Partners LP (VNOM - Free Report) and Bill Barrett Corporation (BBG - Free Report) . While Lonestar Resources and Viper Energy sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Bill Barrett carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Lonestar Resources is expected to achieve year-over-year growth of 60.20% and 79.67% in its sales and earnings in 2017.

Viper Energy reported positive earnings surprise in the last four quarters, the average being 18.36%.

Bill Barrett delivered average positive earnings surprise of 12.74% in the trailing four quarters.

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