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Shell changes name officially

Following up on an earlier decision by the company’s board, Shell has officially dropped the “Royal Dutch” prefix from its name.

In a filing, the company said:

“Shell announced the Board’s decision to change its name to Shell plc on December 20, 2021. This change has now taken effect.”

Most users of Shell’s fuels and lubricant products like grease and spindle oil will notice little, if any, difference, but the move brings to an end more than a century of operating as Royal Dutch Shell. The company was established in 1907 when the United Kingdom’s “Shell” Transport and Trading Company merged with the Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Petroleum Company to become the largest competitor to the US giant Standard Oil.

The name change accompanies a plan to move its headquarters and tax residency from The Hague to London, so the company feels the “Royal Dutch” part of the former name is no longer appropriate. The move is thought to be due to a 15% dividend withholding tax that is being introduced by the Dutch authorities, with the company arguing that this makes their shares less desirable for global investors. A recent court decision in the Netherlands also obliged Shell to accelerate its move to net-zero.

Ownership of A and B shares will be unaffected by the change, although the dual share structure that has been in place since 2005, when the Dutch and UK businesses finally unified into a single legal entity, is due to be combined into a single class of ordinary shares.

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