Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rebel Investors Win Tax Bill Spat with Royal Dutch Shell; MARKET REPORT

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rebel Investors Win Tax Bill Spat with Royal Dutch Shell; MARKET REPORT

Article excerpt


ROYAL Dutch Shell finally capitulated to rebel minority shareholders of Royal Dutch who have been demanding a loan-note alternative allowing them to avoid massive capital gains tax bills.

UK-based investors in Royal Dutch formed themselves into a small but vocal group, persistently refusing to sell the merged entity their outstanding shares in Royal Dutch, accounting for about 1.5% of the total.

As part of an internal reorganisation unveiled today, the UK shareholders can now sell Royal Dutch shares for cash or loan notes exchangeable for Royal Dutch Shell A shares.

The A shares were up 5p at 1845p and the B stock rose 9p to 1925p.

Tesco's grim warning on consumer confidence in the face of a rising oil price piled pressure on the rest of the industry, with most of the major supermarkets and High Street retailers struggling.

Tesco found itself in the unusual position of heading the FTSE fallers, down 133/4p to 3123/4p, closely followed by J Sainsbury, 63/4p lower at 2763/4p, and Wm Morrison, 41/4p lighter at 178p.

Kingfisher slipped another 31/2p to 2263/4p, damaged by analysts at WestLB slashing its profit forecast by 12%. Woolworths, reporting tomorrow, was 11/2p lighter at 331/2p, while Boots was off 2p at 6191/2p and Argos owner GUS slipped 111/2p to 8621/2p.

Marks & Spencer, down 21/2p at 345p, escaped lightly compared with rivals - in particular Next, down 12p at 1414p. Investment bank Lehman Brothers notes M&S has put key autumn trends in its stores while the new TV campaign should drive up footfall and increase full-price sales.

The only other retailer to buck the trend was Peacocks, which firmed 31/2p to 3271/2p following a further dollop of information on the planned buyout.

Today it named the executives leading the buyout bid and their backers from Goldman Sachs.

Strong support for miners and oil companies saw the FTSE open ahead, but the general sell-off in retail saw it reverse direction to be down 4.1 points at 5425.6 After heavy falls yesterday, Wall Street opened in a more optimistic mood today with the Dow up 43 points at 10,600. …

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