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Bloomberg: Shell Proposes European Settlement to Reserves Claims

By Stephen Voss

April 11 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, said it proposed a settlement of European and other non-U.S. investor claims related to its 2004 restatement of oil and gas reserves.

“Without admitting any wrongdoing, Shell agreed to pay $352.6 million, plus administrative costs, to investors covered by the settlement,” the company, based in The Hague, said today in a statement distributed by PR Newswire.

The agreement depends on the Amsterdam Court of Appeals declaring the settlement binding for the shareholders it covers and is subject to opt-out provisions, Shell said.

Shell slashed its proven oil and gas reserve estimates in January 2004, leading to regulator fines, investor lawsuits, the loss of its triple-A credit rating and the ouster of the company’s top three executives, including chairman Phil Watts.

Shell intends to offer the same proportional settlement to U.S. investors as the one outlined today, provided the U.S. court overseeing the case approves, the statement said.

Under the proposed non-U.S. investor settlement, Shell will pay $340.1 million to investors who bought shares between April 8, 1999, and March 18, 2004, $12.5 million to be divided equally among all shareholders with a valid claim, and $6.25 million to Vereniging Effectenbezitters, or VEB, an organization representing Dutch shareholders, and similar groups, “to assist individual shareholders in preparing and submitting claims.”

Shell also asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to distribute among Shell shareholders the $120 million fine that the oil company paid the SEC in 2004 under an agreement resolving the regulator’s investigation into the reserves scandal.

The March 18, 2004, date coincides with the day Shell cut its 2002 reserve estimates for a second time. The first restatement was on Jan. 9 that year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Voss in London at [email protected]

Last Updated: April 11, 2007 04:29 EDT and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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