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Shell in $9.2m US shareholder pay-off

Lloyds List: Shell in $9.2m US shareholder pay-off

“But it still has one other class action pending in the US by shareholders angered by the devaluation of their shareholdings immediately after the reserves recategorisation was announced.”

Friday Sept 02, 2005

ROYAL Dutch Shell is set to pay $9.2m to settle another shareholder lawsuit in the US as it works to close off the remaining fallout from its 2004 reserves scandal, writes Martyn Wingrove.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major, which recently unified its ownership and listing, has reached a settlement with US shareholders on their derivative action that was set up to force the company into corporate changes.

The actions pending in the federal courts of New York and New Jersey sought to assert claims against current and former members of the board and were looking for changes in corporate structure and governance.

Under the terms of the settlement, Shell has agreed to pay $9.2m in court costs and attorney fees for the derivative plaintiffs.

It has also agreed on changes to corporate governance, some of which are already implemented, on areas such as policy, composition and function of the board of directors, financial reporting and compliance.

‘We are pleased to have taken another step towards putting the reserves recategorisation behind us,’ said Beat Hess, Shell’s legal director.

‘And to have done so in a way that contributes to Shell’s commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance, compliance and integrity.’

The world’s third largest oil firm now has to wait for court approval before closing off the lawsuit.

But it still has one other class action pending in the US by shareholders angered by the devaluation of their shareholdings immediately after the reserves recategorisation was announced.

In 2004, Shell slashed almost a quarter of its proved hydrocarbon reserves in a scandal that rocked the oil industry and forced the sacking of senior managers.

In the aftermath of that scandal, the group, now led by Jeroen van der Veer, has unified the ownership into Royal Dutch Shell and consolidated its share listing in London.

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