Monday, November 29, 1999

Sri Lanka says buying back Shell gas stake

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Sri Lanka's government on Thursday said it plans to repurchase the majority stake of Royal Dutch Shell's local arm Shell Gas Lanka, in the second announced buyback of formerly state-owned assets in two months.The government is to buy back at least a 51 percent stake of Shell Gas Lanka, to which it sold its Colombo Gas Company outright to Shell in 1996 for $37 million."Shell is trying to scale down in the region and they are planning to sell their operation in Sri Lanka. We will buy the controlling stake," Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.Shell Lanka spokesman Remore Saldine told Reuters he was notaware of any negotiations.In May the government said it had offered $55 million to buyback the 43.6 percent stake Dubai's Emirates airline holds in national carrier SriLankan Airlines.Emirates has been trying to sell all or part of the stake since 2008, which had previously been valued at about $150 million and for which it paid $70 million in 1998. It is Emirates' only investment in another airline.(Editing by Bryson Hull)
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