Shell wins BG deal approval

Royal Dutch Shell ​has won approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board for ​its proposed ​£47​bn takeover of BG Group, leaving China as the last regulatory hurdle to the deal.

The approval included an unusual condition designed to prevent disputes with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) with the merged group, amid Australia’s push to clamp down on profit shifting and tax avoidance by multinationals.

Shell and BG said they are now awaiting clearance from China’s Ministry of Commerce, adding that the deal remains on track to be sealed in early 2016.

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​​Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “I am very pleased to receive this news. The FIRB approval is an important step towards deal completion.” ​​

The condition imposed by Australia requires Shell to agree with the tax office how it will approach transfer pricing, loans between different arms of the company and other issues before filing tax returns from the merged group.

The undertaking will not affect the value of the merger, as Shell already has what is called a “cooperative compliance” approach to taxation in Australia, a spokesman said.

​​Shell last month won approval from Australia’s competition watchdog for the deal, despite concerns raised by major gas users in the country’s east.