LONDON – Royal Dutch Shell gained EU approval on Wednesday for its $70 billion acquisition of Britain’s BG Group, the second of four key markets needed to clear the deal.
The European Commission said the transaction would not grant Shell market power in oil and gas exploration, the liquefaction of gas and the wholesale supply of liquefied natural gas.
The takeover, which will see Shell become the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer and a major deepwater oil player, is on track for completion in early 2016, Shell’s Chief Executive, Ben van Beurden, said in a statement.
The deal, announced in April, received the green light from Brazil in July but still requires mandatory approvals from authorities in Australia and China.
U.S. regulators have also cleared the acquisition.
“Receiving clearance from the European Commission underlines the good progress we are making on the deal,” van Beurden said.
Shell announced in July 6,500 job cuts and deep spending cuts in order to reassure investors it will be able to finance the BG acquisition as oil prices are expected to stage only a modest recovery in the coming years.
Shell’s shares were down 0.5 percent in London at 1425 GMT, while BG was up 1.3 percent. The broader FTSE Oil & Gas index was down 0.3 percent.
(Reporting by Julia Fioretti in Brussels and Ron Bousso in London; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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