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Daily Telegraph: Shell ready to go to court over rump shareholding

Daily Telegraph: Shell ready to go to court over rump shareholding

“More than 8pc of investors in Royal Dutch Petroleum have failed to accept the terms of the merger with Shell Transport and Trading to create a £100billion oil and gas giant called Royal Dutch Shell.”

Wednesday 20 July 2005

By Christopher Hope, Business Correspondent (Filed: 20/07/2005)

More than 8pc of investors in Royal Dutch Petroleum have failed to accept the terms of the merger with Shell Transport and Trading to create a £100billion oil and gas giant called Royal Dutch Shell.

However, enough shareholders – 91.7pc – in Royal Dutch Petroleum have backed the deal to ensure that the merger will go through today.

The deal, which was brought about after the company wrongly categorised over a fifth of its proven oil and gas, has been criticised in the UK after it left about 3,000 British shareholders facing a £77m capital gains tax bill. This is because the Inland Revenue treats the share swap as a disposal.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the Association of Private Client Investment Manager and Stockbrokers, said: “This shows that a significant number of the UK shareholders in Royal Dutch have not accepted the offer. Shell should accept the problem they have caused and put in place an alternative strategy straight away.”

Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, has already said that there is nothing left in Shell’s “tool-box” to help the investors. Yesterday he added: “Shareholders have shown strong support throughout the process and voted overwhelmingly in support of the proposals.”

Shell, which lowered the Royal Dutch acceptance level from 95pc to 75pc this month, said it was extending the deadline for 15 days to August 9. The company blamed the low acceptance on “shareholder inaction rather than any lack of support”.

Shell said that it “reserves the right to use any legally permitted method to obtain 100pc of the Royal Dutch shares” including forcing the shareholders to accept cash for the shares through the courts. Shell Transport’s shares closed (for the last time) down 9 at 528p.

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