Oil firm restructure

Shell investors vote for London move and name change

shell

Simplification: the company will drop the Royal Dutch name

Shell shareholders have voted in favour of a plan to move the company’s headquarters and its tax home from the Netherlands to London.

Chairman Sir Andrew Mackenzie announced that at a meeting in Rotterdam more than 99% of shares case were in support of the plan. The final tally will be released later.

Shareholders also voted to drop Royal Dutch from its name.

The board says it will simplify its tax and dual share arrangements, though its chairman has admitted the plan was at least partly driven by the Dutch government’s dividend tax policy.

The move will also see top executives, including chief executive Ben van Beurden, relocate to London.

The Dutch government said it was “unpleasantly surprised” by the plan, while Britain has hailed it as a vote of confidence in the British economy post-Brexit.

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Shareholders met early today in Rotterdam’s Ahoy auditorium, while many voted online because of Covid restrictions. Questions were allowed, but despite the significance of the proposal there was no presentation by the board.

Europe’s biggest energy firm, which employs 8,500 staff in The Netherlands, issued a statement ahead of the meeting saying: “Shell is proud of its Anglo-Dutch heritage and will continue to be a significant employer with a major presence in the Netherlands.”

Shareholders will continue to hold the same legal, ownership, voting and capital distribution rights in Shell. Shares will continue to be listed in Amsterdam, London and New York.

Royal Dutch Shell was formed in 1907 and the “Shell” name and logo came from seashells imported in the 19th century by the father of Marcus and Samuel Samuel, the brothers who founded the British firm.

Activist investor Third Point has led a campaign for Shell be broken up, but it has instead announced the changes in its shares structure and domicile.

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