Royal Dutch Shell p.l.c. (NYSE: RDS/A) has announced a landmark settlement with non-U.S. shareholders resolving claims related to the company’s recategorizations of certain proved oil and gas reserves. Under the settlement, which was executed pursuant to a new Dutch statute allowing the Amsterdam Court of Appeals to declare binding a collective resolution of a commercial dispute, Shell will pay $352.6 million plus administrative costs to shareholders who bought on non-U.S. exchanges and were resident or domiciled outside the U.S. from April 1999 to March 2004. The parties have also requested that the $120 million Shell paid to the SEC in a related settlement be distributed in a non-discriminatory manner among certain U.S. and non-U.S. shareholders.
Shell also announced that it plans to extend the same proportional settlement offer to shareholders who bought in the U.S. or were resident or domiciled in the U.S. during the same period. According to the press, it is the second-largest settlement of a securities fraud dispute by a European-based company, behind Royal Ahold’s $1.1 billion settlement in late 2005. Media coverage can be found in the Wall Street Journal (subscrip. req’d), Bloomberg, and the New York Times.