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Shell expects 4th Q profits to drop at least 40 percent
The Shell logo at a petrol station in London, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. Royal Dutch Shell expects its fourth quarter profits to drop by at least 40 percent to between $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion after a sharp drop in crude oil prices, but underscored its determination to press ahead with the proposed mega-merger with BG Group plc. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Shell shareholders approve deal to buy UK rival BG

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell shareholders have overwhelmingly backed the 34 billion pound ($49 billion) bid to buy BG Group, despite a slide in oil prices that have had some critics wondering about the wisdom of the mega-deal.

More than 80 percent of shareholders approved the move on Wednesday. The deal will boost Shell’s oil and gas reserves by 25 percent and increase its presence in the fast-growing liquefied natural gas market.

BG shareholders vote on the offer Thursday. If approved, the deal’s final value will be determined Feb. 15.

Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden says he’s delighted with the “confidence that shareholders have shown in the strategic logic” of the deal.

The international price of crude oil has plunged from over $100 a barrel in 2014 to around $31 a barrel.

In related news, Shell says it can make BG deal work despite weak oil price.

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