ShellNews.net: ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC FACES STRONG PROTESTS FOLLOWING SHABBY TREATMENT OF UK SHAREHOLDERS: UPDATE: Monday 15 August 2005 16.30 ET
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL FACES STRONG PROTESTS FOLLOWING SHABBY TREATMENT OF UK SHAREHOLDERS HOLDING SHARES IN ROYAL DUTCH PETROLEUM COMPANY
The emails below were received by ShellNews.net co-owner, Alfred Donovan. Any further emails received on the same subject will be posted on this page.
Received Thursday 11 August 2005
Subject: Shell Merger
Please could you have a look at how badly and immorally Shell has treated some of it oldest shareholders with a view to helping make Shell responsible for their actions. Many people will loose 40% of their dividend income at a stroke as they will have to sell shares to meet the tax bill. Other old people will effectively pay 40% tax now and another 40% when they die. Without Shells actions they would have only expected to pay 40% once in inheritance tax.
Received Monday 15 August 2005
Dear Mr Donovan
Subject: Re Shells unethical dishonest treatment of UK shareholders.
Please see a copy of a letter I wrote. Perhaps you could help us in some way. Thank you.
"...Please consider people like my mother of 86 whose holding of Shell is a lifelong investment which means 99% of it is capital gain. It is virtually all she has and she now faces losing 80% of it. 40% in tax now with the resultant huge loss in income after selling to pay the tax and 40% in inheritance tax which sadly is going to come about sooner rather than later. She saved and made sacrifices throughout her life in order to leave something to her children and grandchildren.
She is devastated at the unethical and ruthless way she has been treated. She is too old and frail to take risks and to be worried about the legal implications of not accepting the extended offer Shell made, so as if a knife to her throat she accepted the extended Shell offer only because Shell's chief executive insisted there was nothing left in his "tool-box" to help the investors. It seems that even in this statement Shell is shown to be deceitful liars and at the expense of old people who are too frightened to defend themselves. They thus tricked her into accepting the extended offer. What ruthlessness!
She would never have accepted Shells offer if they had been decent enough to admit what they now do which is that when push comes to shove, only to mitigate their own costs, they will look at ways to obtain the outstanding shares without so harming the remaining shareholders. It seems that these are much stronger wealthier less vulnerable people.
For Shell to have put people like my mother in such a dreadful position and then not equalise them with the remaining share holders will be so unjust, immoral and all the other things people are saying about Shell. See www.royaldutchshellplc.com
I fear publicity, public shame, is our only hope. Please do what you can to help."
(Relevant names and contact details have been withheld. These private emails are published without the consent of the authors. Any further emails received on the same subject will be published on the same basis.)
Related articles: (most recent 14 November 2005)
THE NEW YORK TIMES: Shell Shareholders to Back Unification: “Another dampener on Shell's biggest corporate overhaul since the two holding firms tied up in 1907, is a spat over the rights to the web domain ``royaldutchshellplc.com.'' Disgruntled shareholder Alfred Donovan beat Shell to register the domain name. Shell has sued Donovan for the rights to the domain but while the matter plays out, Donovan uses the site to lambaste Shell management. Posted Saturday 25 June 2005: Read the article Daily Telegraph (UK): 'We didn't ask to sell the shares, yet they expect us to pay up': “Mr Jamieson, 87, who has written in protest to Shell's UK chairman, Lord Oxburgh, added that the petrochemicals giant was behaving as though "this is the way it is boys, you have got to take it on the chin". He said: "We are both in our 80s and don't need the trouble. We did not ask Shell to merge the shares; to suffer through no action of our own is iniquitous.” Saturday 25 June 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph (UK): Shell shareholders face £80m tax bill: “Oil major accused of 'unacceptable arrogance': “Shell, which has admitted paying $115m in fees, including tax advice during the restructuring, declined to comment. Sources said Shell had tried hard to make the offering fair to as many shareholders as possible.”: Saturday 25 June 2005: Read the article
The Guardian (UK): Good and bad news in shares switch: “From July 20, the new Royal Dutch Shell plc will start to trade…”: Wednesday 29 June 2005: Read the article
The Guardian (UK): Rowdy meeting ends Shell's 100-year split: “Royal Dutch chairman Aad Jacobs, who becomes chairman of the combined group, admitted it would take a long time to "get back the lost confidence" after 2004 when reserves were downgraded five times.”: Wednesday 29 June 2005: Read the article
The Scotsman: INTERVIEW: Two into one will go: “… the wounds from the reserves debacle are still sore for many investors, although they were made less painful in February when Shell reported the biggest annual profits made by a British company - £9.4bn.: Sunday 3 July 2005: Read the article
FINANCIAL TIMES: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Joe Shell's good reputation is important to pensioners: “…which of the founders of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group in 1907 - Marcus Samuel and Henri Deterding - might be turning in his grave at the decisions just taken in London and The Hague…”: Thursday 5 July 2005: Read the article
ShellNews.net: TAXING QUESTIONS ARISING FROM ROYAL DUTCH SHELL MERGER: POSTED 17 AUGUST 2005: 11.45 ET: Read (LETTER DATED 5 JULY 2005)
Financial Times: More investors caught by Shell merger: Investors in Royal Dutch face further confusion ahead of the unification of the oil group's holding companies, it emerged this week.: Saturday 9 July 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Van the Builder must Shell out for 3,000: “These shareholders have been treated shabbily. Yet Jeroen van der Veer, Shell's chief executive, says there is nothing left in his tool-box to help them, which seems careless after spending $115m on advice.”: Saturday 9 July 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Shell paves way for merger: “Shell, which is trying to merge its UK and Dutch parts, has slashed the level of acceptances for shareholders in Royal Dutch Petroleum in an attempt to get the deal done.”: Saturday 9 July 2005: Read the article
Reuters: UPDATE 2-Royal Dutch/Shell merger declared unconditional: “The merger is aimed at restoring confidence in Shell, after a damaging reserves-overbooking scandal last year…”: Tuesday 19 July 2005: Read the article
The Guardian (UK): New Shell shares start trading: “The merger is one of a number of measures implemented after last year's damaging reserves overbooking scandal which dented investor confidence.”: “Under the terms of the merger the new company will be listed in London and will have its headquarters in the Netherlands.”: Wednesday 20 July 2005: Read the article
ShellNews.net: ANOTHER BAD NEWS DAY FOR SHELL: LONDON TIMES ARTICLE IMPLIES THAT SHELL ISSUED A FALSE PROSPECTIVE FOR ITS MERGER: THE INDEPENDENT SAYS THAT SHELL IS “RUDDERLESS”: FT CLAIMS THAT INVESTORS DUMPED THE NEW UNIFIED SHELL SHARES ON THEIR DEBUT DAY AND REVIVES DESIRABLE PROSPECT OF TOTAL/SHELL MEGA-MERGER: 9am: Thursday 21 July 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Shell forced to talk to its angry investors: “Shell have treated the private investor very badly indeed.”: Wednesday 10 August 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Shell rebel investors dig their heels in: “David Windsor-Clive, 44, another dissident shareholder and former banker who is facing a £600,000 tax bill on a £2m family holding in Royal Dutch, said he was considering suing Shell if it failed to ease the tax hit.”: Thursday 11 August 2005: Read the article
THE TIMES (UK): Angry shareholders tell Shell to halt $5bn buyback plan: “FURIOUS shareholders urged Royal Dutch Shell to suspend a large share buyback programme last night amid concerns that it might cost the group up to €220 million (£151 million).”: Thursday 11 August 2005: Read the article
Financial Times: Shell to meet worried investors: “Royal Dutch Shell will today meet representatives of a small number of shareholders who say they have been adversely affected by the recent unification of its British and Dutch parent companies.”: Friday 12 August 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Shell may offer tax-efficient option to its rebel investors: "Shell admitted yesterday that it was considering a new tax-efficient offer for British shareholders in Royal Dutch Petroleum who are refusing to accept the terms of the merger with Shell Transport and Trading.": Saturday 13 August 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Shell shows some sense: “At last, faint signs of common sense emerging from the Shell Lubyanka over the fate of the British shareholders in Royal Dutch.”: Saturday 13 August 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Shell tries 'getting to know you' ploy to woo rebels: “The news comes after a number of high-profile City names emerged last week to vent their anger about the shake-up, which will leave them with a multi-million pound tax bill.”: Wednesday 17 August 2005: Read the article
Daily Telegraph: Royal Dutch rebels in the spotlight: “The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers yesterday shed light on the number of rebel British investors in Royal Dutch Petroleum who are refusing to accept the terms of the merger with Shell Transport and Trading.”: Saturday 3 September 2005: READ
Daily Telegraph: Tax bill rebels furious over Shell '£2bn saving': "Shell's controversial merger to create a single corporate entity called Royal Dutch Shell is understood to have saved the oil giant as much as £2billion while leaving some of its British investors with a £77m tax headache.": Friday 9 September 2005: READ
Daily Telegraph: 'So we were all sacrificial lambs?': “Shell's directors were aware that the company's controversial restructuring would leave some of its British investors nursing a multi-million-pound tax bill months before the deal went through, according to a leaked telephone conversation with a senior Shell executive.”: “Peter Buckley, chairman of Caledonia Investments and one of the rebels, said: "It is pretty sad that Shell is spending a lot of money to rebuild their image and then goes on to score such an own goal. I think it is shabby of Shell.": Saturday 10 September 2005: READ
The Sunday Times (UK): Shell move robs UK investors: “When the oil giant merged, British investors in the Dutch arm of the firm lost up to 25% of their holdings…”: “Many are elderly investors who have held the shares for decades and face tax bills of tens of thousands of pounds after their stock was converted into shares of the unified company, Royal Dutch Shell. 4”: Sunday 11 Sept 2005: READ
Daily Telegraph: Investors consider suing Shell: "More than 1,000 British shareholders controlling over £100m-worth of shares in Royal Dutch Petroleum are considering suing Shell to try to claw back some of a multi-million pound tax bill caused by the restructuring of the oil and gas giant.": "Shell should do for us what they have done for the refuseniks. They made billions of profits this year so they can afford to pay us off.": Tuesday 1 November 2005: READ
Accountancy Age: Angry shareholders may sue Shell over tax bill: Monday 01 Nov 2005: READ
Tax-News.com: Shell Facing Shareholder Revolt Over Multi-Million Pound Tax Bill, London: 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.”: Thursday 03 November 2005: READ
Daily Telegraph: Shell urged to help pay investors' tax bills: "Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool, the former chairman of Shell, has called on the oil and gas giant to compensate British investors left with a multi-million pound tax bill from its restructuring.": The vast majority of the 3,000 Royal Dutch holders accepted the deal after Jeroen van der Veer, Shell's chief executive, warned his "toolbox" to help them was empty. But a small minority held out and were rewarded in late September when Shell offered a tax-efficient loan note alternative. The shareholders who originally accepted - and have been left with a large tax bill - are now considering legal action against Shell.": Monday 14 November 2005: READ
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