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Expatica: Shell, Total tight-lipped over merger rumour

Expatica: Shell, Total tight-lipped over merger rumour

16 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Royal Dutch/Shell has declined to be drawn into rumours the Anglo-Dutch oil giant faced a potential takeover bid from French rival Total.

Total has also declined to comment on the report in British Sunday newspaper the Observer.

Without quoting sources, the paper said Shell insiders fear Total will launch a raid and force a merger, and that the takeover was the subject of “fevered speculation”.

“Total, the world’s fourth-largest oil firm, is considered the only predator capable of gaining regulatory approval for what would be a spectacular merger,” the paper said.

Royal Dutch/Shell is the third-largest oil group in the world and has two boards because the Amsterdam-based Royal Dutch owns 60 percent of the group and the British-run Shell owns the other 40 percent.

The company has controversially had to downgrade its known reserves of oil and gas by 23 percent in four separate revisions this year. The scandal led to the resignation of three top executives, including former chairman Sir Philip Watts.

Last week, the company said it would merge its Dutch and British supervisory boards and was also considering merging its two holding companies, Royal Dutch and Shell.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

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