Woodside's buyback fails

Woodside Petroleum’s controversial Pluto project – we’ve dubbed it a dud, management hails it as a success – is now generating strong cash flow but a paucity of projects means the company has few options to reinvest cash. Management’s solution was a good one: Woodside proposed spending $2.9bn buying back shares from its largest shareholder, Shell. That would have soaked up surplus cash, prevented Shell from dumping stock on market and reduced the company’s share count. However, shareholders have voted down the plan, cross that Shell would have gained favourable access to Woodside’s US$2.8bn stash of franking credits. We...

Woodside Petroleum’s controversial Pluto project – we’ve dubbed it a dud, management hails it as a success – is now generating strong cash flow but a paucity of projects means the company has few options to reinvest cash. Management’s solution was a good one: Woodside proposed spending $2.9bn buying back shares from its largest shareholder, Shell.

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