Shell opens LPG data room

Shell, the UK-listed Anglo-Dutch oil company, opened its data room this week to interested bidders for its liquefied petroleum gas arm. The company has denied talk that it will go ahead with the circa US$3bn sale, however.

Shell said in September that it had received an unsolicited approach for the LPG business and that it had appointed advisers to review the business.

Sources close to the company, which is being advised by Citigroup, denied speculation that management was split over whether to sell the business.

At least 10 private equity firms, alongside a handful of trade buyers, are understood to be interested in the business. According to deal sources, Carlyle is planning to bid by itself; Texas Pacific Group has teamed up initially with Permira; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is with Goldman Sachs; CVC Capital Partners is with Spanish oil firm Repsol in a 40:60 bidding vehicle; and Apollo has joined with another trade buyer.

Apollo’s partner is not thought to be Total, as the French oil company is keeping its options open. The party could be US-based UGI, Brazil’s Ultrapar Participacoes or the Netherlands’ SHV.

Other buyout houses potentially in the hunt include Blackstone, PAI Partners, Cinven and BC Partners, deal sources said.

According to analysts, Shell is expected to complete the LPG sale by the end of the year as part of a US$15bn disposal programme.