Shell won’t rule out moving HQ to London. ‘Nothing is permanent,’ says CEO

Ben van Beurden. Photo: Ed Robinson via Shell
Ben van Beurden. Photo: Ed Robinson via Shell

The chief executive of oil giant Shell has told the Financieele Dagblad in an interview that he will not rule out moving the company’s headquarters away from The Hague, now the Dutch government has decided not to scrap the tax on dividends.

While there are no concrete plans as yet, CEO Ben van Beurden told the paper that ‘you have to keep on thinking.’

‘Nothing is permanent and of course we are looking at the business climate,’ he said. ‘But moving your headquarters is not a trivial matter.’

The Dutch government had agreed to scrap the tax on dividends in 2018 but later withdrew the plan under public and political pressure. Prime minister Mark Rutte said at the time that keeping the tax could lead to some of the Netherlands biggest companies leaving.

A month ago, Anglo Dutch group Unilever said it is to unify its headquarters in London.

Two types of shares

Shell currently has two types of shares and the company is keen to change this, Van Beurden said. ‘It is not an acute problem at the moment, but it is a limiting factor,’ he said. ‘It is not currently an issue, but it is a problem that I would rather have solved.’

The FD said Shell has been in talks with the Dutch government about the problem for 15 years.

Royal Dutch Shell was formed in 1907 when the Shell Transport and Trading Company merged with Royal Dutch and form the Royal Dutch Shell Group.

The parent company of the Shell group is Royal Dutch Shell plc, which is incorporated in England and Wales. The company’s primary listing is in London but it also has secondary listings on Euronext Amsterdam and the New York Stock Exchange.

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