Hundreds of jobs at risk from Shell sale of Geelong refinery: Midday roundup

Up to 600 jobs could be lost in the Victorian city Geelong as petroleum giant Shell yesterday announced plans to sell the local refinery.

In a statement about the sale, Shell Australia downstream vice-president Andrew Smith said employees would be supported through the process.

“I understand this announcement will be difficult for refinery employees, but Shell will support them through this period of uncertainty,” he said.

The Geelong Advertiser reported there are 450 Shell employees at the Geelong site and another 150 or more contractors.

Shell says if it is unable to sell the refinery to a party which offers “agreeable terms and conditions” other options would include converting it into an import terminal.

Billabong offers fall lower and lower

Takeover bids for Australian surfwear brand Billabong have dropped as low as $0.60, with reports Billabong are considering an offer for $287 million from the consortium of Paul Naude and Sycamore Partners.

This bid supposedly beats that of opposing group VF Corp and private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners, which various media outlets are reporting as being less than $0.50 per share.

Initially, offers of $1.10 a share were on the cards from both interested parties.

Since April 2, Billabong shares have been placed in a trading halt and yesterday the company announced the halt was to continue indefinitely until a decision had been reached.
In February 2012, Billabong rejected an offer from TPG Capital of $850 million because it was too low.

Shares drop after flat opening

Australian shares opened flat, but had dropped by 23.1 points on the S&P/ASX200 benchmark by midday with the energy sector posting substantial loses.

At midday the S&P/ASX200 benchmark was at 4890.4 points.

The energy sector has dropped 181.1 points this morning to 12,608.7, with Aquila Resources down 3.8% and Karoon gas losing 3.74%.

Analysts report the instability is due to investors trying to digest the latest economic announcements from Japan, as they await new US employment data.

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