Shell wants to move the tax office to the UK and bothers the Netherlands

Shell wants to move the tax office to the UK and bothers the Netherlands

LONDON, November 15, 2021 (AFP) – Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell announced Monday (15) that it wants to move its headquarters and tax address to the United Kingdom, a decision criticized by the Dutch government.

The group wants to “align its tax residence with the country in which it is registered, the United Kingdom”, which also wants to consider moving the offices of its chief executive and chief financial officer there. Shareholders are expected to comment on these changes on December 10.

“An unpleasant surprise” for the Dutch government, which “deeply regrets” the decision, Economic Affairs Minister Steve Blok wrote on Twitter.

For the first time in 130 years, “Royal Dutch” will no longer be part of the company’s name.

“We are in talks with Shell about the implications of this decision on jobs, key investments, and sustainability,” Block added.

In a statement, Shell stressed that it is “proud of its Anglo-Dutch heritage,” stressing that it “will remain a major employer and maintain a significant presence in the Netherlands.”

Modifications also include the creation of a unique series of actions. So far, the group has been priced in Class A and Class B shares.

The announcement made Dutch headlines on Monday, as it lamented the loss of another big company after Unilever. In late 2020, Dutch shareholders of this Anglo-Dutch group voted for a single parent company based in London, in a post-Brexit political context.

From Britain, the Minister for Enterprise and Energy, Kwasi Quarting, celebrated this “clear vote of confidence in the economy” in the UK.

As justification for the decision, the company said it was a matter of “simplifying the shareholding structure” and “enhancing Shell’s competitiveness”, in the interest of shareholders and the group’s environmental goals. Its shares will continue to trade in Amsterdam, London and New York.

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In late October, an “activist” investment firm, Third Point, called for the break-up of Shell, denouncing a contradictory strategy between hydrocarbons and the energy transition.

“It seems unlikely, however, that Shell’s announcements will respond to Third Point’s appeals,” said analyst Richard Hunter of Interactive Investor.

The multinational has set a goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2016 levels, at its facilities and for energy it buys elsewhere.

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