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THE NEWS WRAP: Shell and BP considering sale of refineries and petrol stations

Tuesday, 7 January 2014 | By Gavin Lower

Petrol companies Royal Dutch Shell and BP are considering the sale of refineries and petrol stations in Australia to free up cash for their core energy production businesses, which could be the biggest shake-up in the $50 billion petrol industry in decades.


The Australian Financial Review reports that Shell is understood to be in talks with at least two parties over the $3 billion sale of 900 petrol stations and its refinery in Geelong.


It says BP is also believed to be examining a $3 billion sale of its petrol stations and refineries.


Australian businesses optimistic on growth in 2014: Survey


Australian businesses are confident 2014 will be a good year for growth, with expectations for sales, profits, investment and employment rising to their highest levels in 12 months, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet business expectations survey.


The survey shows capital investment and employment intentions have rebounded from negative territory in the previous quarter to sit above their 10-year average levels.


Dun & Bradstreet's economics adviser, Stephen Koukoulas, says expectations for employment are encouraging.


"While we're still not quite at the very strong levels for employment and hiring intentions just yet, it's clearly lifted over the last 9-12 months or so," he said.


Alcoa to decide future of Geelong smelter and more than 500 jobs by end of March


The future of more than 500 workers at an aluminium smelter in Geelong will know their jobs are safe by the end of March when owner, US aluminium giant Alcoa, is set to decide on whether to shut the plant.


The Australian reports that closure of the operation is considered a certainty by analysts.

Alcoa’s Australian office has confirmed that workers at the Point Henry facility have been told the review into its future would be completed by March.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.22% at 16,434.56 points and the Australian dollar is buying US89.7 cents.