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Shell’s move to a new headquarters in London demonstrates that Remoaner predictions are ‘wrong’.


Shell’s move to a new headquarters in London demonstrates that Remoaner predictions are ‘wrong’.


Shell’s move to a new headquarters demonstrates that Remoaner predictions are ‘wrong’.

Shell, the world’s largest oil company, is relocating its headquarters from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom, a move that some see as proof that Brexit does not imply a loss of international business.

Shell announced this week that it was willing to forego the designation “Royal” — from Royal Dutch Shell — in order to move its tax residency from the EU to the UK. The British-Dutch multinational had already chosen the country as its corporate base and primary stock market listing in 2005, but now it will call London its only home “despite Brexit.”

Following the merger of Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij and The Shell Transport and Trading Company nearly two decades ago, Shell decided to split its presence between the UK and the Netherlands.

Shell chose a dual-class structure because it was a tax-resident and headquartered in the Hague, allowing it to issue A shares to Dutch investors while issuing B shares to non-Dutch investors, all to avoid paying the Netherlands’ withholding tax.

The company’s decision to leave the Netherlands follows Unilever’s decision to move its headquarters to the United Kingdom last year.

“It was confidently predicted after the 2016 referendum that businesses such as those would relocate 100 percent to the Netherlands,” Matthew Lynn wrote in The Spectator.

“After all, what’s the point of staying in a small, isolated country like Britain?”

“The decision has already caused consternation in the Netherlands, where the government has described it as an ‘unwelcome surprise.’”

“Who knows, maybe Ursula von der Leyen is already preparing retaliatory sanctions.”

Will President Macron dispatch customs officials to Calais to subdue the unruly British?

Shell’s decision, on the other hand, is more likely to be linked to a recent court ruling than to Brexit, as Mr Lynn acknowledged.

In May, the company was ordered to reduce annual emissions — both its own and those of its suppliers — by 45 percent by 2030, compared to current levels.

This was a huge victory for environmentalists, particularly Friends of the Earth (FoE), which brought the case to court alongside six other organizations and the support of over 17,000 Dutch citizens.

It wasn’t a cause for celebration for Shell.

A spokesperson said at the time that they “fully expect to appeal today’s disappointing court decision,” while stressing that they are stepping up efforts to reduce emissions.

It’s up to the judge.


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