Shell back on British shores as shareholders vote to move from Netherlands to UK

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Energy giant Shell is coming home as shareholders overwhelmingly back plans to move its headquarters from the Netherlands to Britain.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has called called the move “a clear vote of confidence in the British economy.”

Meanwhile the Dutch government has described the move as “an unwelcome surprise.”

Shell dates back to 1833 when a London antiques dealer, Marcus Samuel, started selling seashells he imported from Asia.

After his death in 1870, his sons Marcus Jr and Samuel, building on their father’s existing import-export business, expanded into crude oil.

The two were pioneers in their field and came up with the idea of the world’s first oil tanker as well as creating the Shell brand.

In 1907, the business they founded, Shell Transport & Trading, merged with a rival, Royal Dutch Petroleum.

Since 2005, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has been registered in the Netherlands for tax purposes having its worldwide headquarters in The Hague. However, the oil giant says it will now simplify into one company based entirely in London, abandoning its dual structure and shifting its tax base to the UK in the process. 

Shell has said the simplification is designed to “strengthen its competitiveness” and accelerate both shareholder distributions and the delivery of its strategy to become a net-zero emissions business.

The changes, which are expected to include dropping ‘Royal Dutch’ from its name, has won the support of 99.77 per cent of votes submitted at a shareholder meeting on Friday. 

The group says the move back to England will also help it speed up efforts to turn into a renewables powerhouse. 

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