The West

Approve Woodside deal: shareholder

One of Australia's most vocal stock pickers has urged Woodside Petroleum shareholders to approve the $US2.7 billion ($2.9 billion) buyback of most of Royal Dutch Shell's stake, arguing he is "somewhat surprised there is even resistance to it".

Bell Potter's Charlie Aitken, whose firm's clients control 5.7 per cent of Woodside, used his Ringing the Bell newsletter to urge support for a resolution that will effectively end Shell's decades-long grip on Woodside.

"As a Woodside shareholder this vote is simple," Mr Aitken said. "You can either vote for a long-term stock overhang to be cleared, or vote for a long-term stock overhang to remain.

"There is no other top-20 Australia stock with a genuine competitor holding a blocking stake. Vote 'yes' and hold on for the post-overhang re-rating to $52 over the next 12 to 18 months, whole being paid 6.1 per cent fully franked (dividends) a year along the way."

Woodside's plan to use franking credits to part-pay for Shell's stake has angered some Woodside investors and attracted negative ratings from proxy advisers.

Woodside shares, worth $42.86 on June 16, the day before it announced the Shell exit, yesterday closed up 10¢ at $42.47.

The West Australian

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