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Shell Facing Shareholder Revolt Over Multi-Million Pound Tax Bill

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

03 November 2005


Around one thousand British shareholders controlling £100 million ($177 million) in shares in the energy giant Shell are considering taking legal action against the company in order to recoup a multi-million pound tax bill, which arose from a recent restructuring of the business.

The possibility of a lawsuit against Shell is the result of its decision to create the £130 billion Royal Dutch Shell group, which left 3,000 UK shareholders in Royal Dutch Petroleum with a £77 million capital gains tax bill, the Daily Telegraph reports.

While the majority of the shareholder accepted the terms of the restructuring, a hardcore of about 1,000 "refuseniks" are holding out for compensation from the company, despite Shell's compromise offer of a tax-efficient loan note.

The investors formed a working group last week and have retained the services of a City law firm with a view to taking legal action against Shell.

According to Angela Knight, chief executive of the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (Apcims), the investors are pressing Shell to pay the tax bill.

"What most people would like is for Shell to make a similar financial gesture that is reasonable," Knight was quoted as saying.

Shell is due to hold an extraordinary meeting in The Hague on December 16.


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