May 5, 2015 / 1:32 PM / 2 years ago

BG chief welcomes $70 billion Shell offer with 'mixed emotions'

Shell's company logo is pictured at a gas station in Zurich April 8, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LONDON (Reuters) - BG BG.L Chief Executive Helge Lund on Tuesday welcomed with “mixed emotions” Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) $70 billion takeover bid, which came only two months after he took office.

Speaking at BG’s annual general meeting in Reading, England, the former Statoil (STL.OL) boss said there is still much to do before the transaction can complete but that Shell’s bid, at a 50 percent premium to BG’s share price on April 7, maximizes BG’s value while removing potential risks.

“This is a strong deal for our shareholders,” he said.

“That said, you will understand that, from a leadership perspective, I do have slightly mixed emotions as I was looking forward to taking BG forward and a takeover was certainly not in my mind when I joined the company.”

Lund took office on Feb. 9, nearly a month earlier than initially planned, with a mandate to turn BG around after a string of profit warnings and delays on major projects.

Lund is not expected to remain at BG once the takeover completes, but his total pay could top 32 million pounds ($47.8 million) if the deal goes ahead, a Reuters analysis of corporate filings showed last month.

BG shareholders showed their discontent about the prospect of such a high payout, with 18 percent of them rejecting the company’s remuneration report at Tuesday’s meeting.

“This really represents an outrageous sum in the current climate,” shareholder Mark Bentley said.

He demanded an apology from BG’s remuneration committee, headed by former Oxford University vice-chancellor John Hood, drawing applause from many of the shareholders present.

Nearly 14 percent of shareholders also voted against Hood’s re-election.

“If we misjudged something, we misjudged the public reaction,” BG Chairman Andrew Gould said.

Lund’s initial pay package had already been a subject of much debate after his recruitment from Statoil, prompting the company to reduce it by millions of pounds.

Shell’s takeover offer, first raised in a mid-March phone call between Shell CEO Ben van Beurden and BG Chairman Andrew Gould, was announced on April 7.

Writing by Ron Bousso; Editing by David Goodman

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