BG chief welcomes Shell's $70-billion takeover bid

BG chief executive Helge Lund yesterday welcomed Royal Dutch Shell's $70-billion takeover bid, which came only two months after he took office (See: Shell to buy Britain's BG Group for $69.6 bn).

Speaking at BG's annual general meeting in Reading, England, the former Statoil boss said a lot needed to be done before the transaction could be completed but Shell's bid, at a 50-per cent premium to BG's share price on 7 April, maximised BG's value even as it eliminated potential risks.

"This is a strong deal for our shareholders," he said.

"That said, you will understand that, from a leadership perspective, I do have slightly mixed emotions as I was looking forward to taking BG forward and a takeover was certainly not in my mind when I joined the company."

Lund took office on 9 February, nearly a month ahead of the date planned, with a mandate to turn BG around following a string of profit warnings and delays on major projects.

Lund was not expected to continue with BG after the completion of the takeover, but his total pay could top £32 million ($47.8 million) if the deal were to go ahead, according to a Reuters analysis of corporate filings last month.

Lund would run BG until the completion of the acquisition, then probably leave the company, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said on a conference call on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.

According to the two companies the deal was expected to close early next year.

Lund draws a base salary of £1.5 million, to which a 30-per cent cash payment is added in lieu of a pension, the company said in a 1 December statement.

Additionally, he could earn as much as twice his salary in short-term annual cash incentives, or £3 million pounds a year.

Lund received an initial long-term incentive-plan grant on 9 March of about £4.6 million, according to BG's annual report. His annual LTIP grant, which had a face value of as much as £9 million, is expected to reach £4 million pounds in 2015, BG said in the 1 December statement.

Additionally, he received grants with a face value of about £750,000 on  9 March  to compensate for bonuses and share awards foregone when he left Statoil, as also a one-time relocation allowance of £480,000 pounds.

''The transaction will take time to complete, during which my team and I will remain committed to BG and our shareholders, and to safely delivering our 2015 business plan,'' Lund said in a statement.