Daily Telegraph: Shell suffers second cut to credit rating
By James Moore (Filed: 22/04/2004)
Shell's credit rating suffered another downgrade yesterday as Fitch became the second agency to take the troubled oil giant off its list of companies with the top AAA rating.
Fitch blamed the continuing flow of bad news from the group, which on Monday published the summary of a report that found former executives repeatedly lied about its oil and gas reserves.
The agency said it was concerned there could be yet more cuts in Shell's proven reserves, despite Shell saying it was now confident of its position.
It also emerged that Shell had sounded out Hugh Collum, the outgoing chairman of British Nuclear Fuels, as a possible replacement for Lord Oxburgh as chairman of Shell's UK board. He is understood to be one of a number of candidates the company is considering.
Shell has had to downgrade its reported reserves three times in the past four months, cutting the 2002 figure by 4.35billion barrels - more than 22pc.
Fitch said it believed the findings of the report, by the US law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, would support shareholder litigation.
On Tuesday it emerged that Milberg Weiss, the law firm which specialises in class actions against big companies on behalf of investors, planned to step up its assault on Shell. The firm is planning to fly partners to the UK to discuss strategy with existing clients and sign up new ones.
Shell shares closed down 2p at 387p.