Gulf News

Shell proposes European settlement of reserves claims

investorMo­scowAgrees to pay $352.6m plus administra­tive costs to s

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, said it proposed a settlement of European and other nonUS 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 yesterday in a statement on 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 US investors as the one outlined, provided the US court overseeing the case approves, the statement said.

Under the proposed nonUS 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 to Vereniging Effectenbe­zitters, or VEB, an organisati­on representi­ng Dutch shareholde­rs, and similar groups, “to assist individual shareholde­rs in preparing and submitting claims.”

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

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