Shell considers exiting UK, German, Dutch energy retail businesses

LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Shell ( Shell.L ) is considering exiting its domestic energy retail business following “difficult market conditions” in Britain, the Netherlands and Germany, it said on Thursday.

Europe’s energy suppliers have struggled over the past year with soaring wholesale prices and governments’ efforts to protect consumers from high bills.

Shell said it had begun a strategic review of the three businesses, which could take a few months, but said no decision had yet been made on their future.

Shell has pumped about $1.5 billion in cash and debt into the British energy retailer by 2022 to help it weather the high volatility in energy prices that has led to the collapse of several rival UK utilities.

UK Shell Energy Retail has 1.4 million customers, while the German business has 110,000 and the Netherlands 15,000.

Shell said its wholesale and business-to-business (B2B) energy supply businesses were not part of its strategic review, and neither were its domestic energy supply businesses in the United States and Australia.

Despite struggling retail businesses, Shell is poised to post annual profits of more than $30 billion by 2022, when it reports results on February 7, buoyed by higher oil and gas prices.

Reporting by Ron Bosso Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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