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Daily Telegraph: Shell forced to talk to its angry investors

Daily Telegraph: Shell forced to talk to its angry investors

“Shell have treated the private investor very badly indeed.”

By Christopher Hope, Business Correspondent (Filed: 10/08/2005)

Shell tax experts have agreed to meet British shareholders in Royal Dutch Petroleum this week to try to find a way of helping them to deal with a £77m tax bill arising from Shell’s multi-billion pound restructuring.

Shell is expected to announce today how many investors in Royal Dutch have accepted the terms of the merger by yesterday’s deadline of 3pm. The figure was 95pc during an update last week.

Shell has always maintained that it has “nothing in its toolbox” to help British holders in Royal Dutch who have been left with a large capital gains tax bill as a result of the merger of Royal Dutch with Shell Transport and Trading, to create Royal Dutch Shell. It maintains that the offer was fair to all shareholders on a pre-tax basis.

However the Anglo-Dutch oil giant confirmed that a meeting was planned on Friday with the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers which has been co-ordin-ating the shareholders.

A spokesman said: “APCIMS have requested a meeting and we are prepared to meet with them. We have no details about what is going to be discussed.”

Angela Knight, APCIMS’ chief executive, said: “We have always wanted to fix a meeting and this has been arranged for Friday. Shell have treated the private investor very badly indeed. There are a considerable number of private investors in Royal Dutch Petroleum who have not taken up the offer.”

Shell is determined to cancel the remaining Royal Dutch Petroleum shares using “any legally permitted method”, possibly by forcing them to accept cash for the stock through a procedure known as a “squeeze out”.

Yesterday the company asked the New York Stock Exchange to suspend trading in the rump Royal Dutch Petroleum stock “until further information was available”.

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