Woodside has the potential to be a truly great Australian company. It invests billions of dollars in incredibly complex, long lead time oil and gas projects that involve huge feats of engineering, usually in partnership with one or more of the global resource giants. And it's doing it for Australia.
But unfortunately, it has struggled to live up to this potential. Over its 40-plus years of being a listed company, it has disappointed shareholders more often than it has delivered. Maybe this is why Shell finally quit Woodside last November, when it sold its final tranche of shares at $31.10 per share. After trying to buy 100% of Woodside in 2001 and being famously rejected by the then Treasurer Peter Costello on “national interest grounds”, it sold its first tranche of 10% of Woodside in 2010 at $42.23 per share. It sold another tranche of 9.5% in 2014 at $41.35 per share, before the final sale of 13.5%.
Four months’ after Shell’s exit, Woodside is tapping shareholders for $2.5 billion through a renounceable entitlement issue, the biggest capital raise by a listed company over the last two years.