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BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL: Massachusetts pension may lead shareholder suit against Shell



1:52 PM EST Friday 20 Feb 04


Massachusetts' state pension said it is considering becoming lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Europe's second-largest oil and gas producer, Bloomberg Business News is reporting.  


The fund is reportedly taking the action after the company said it overestimated reserves.


The $32 billion Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Trust Fund estimates that it lost $4.7 million because of Shell's restatement, First Deputy Treasurer Doug Rubin said at a pension board meeting.


Shell is facing 10 lawsuits in the United States claiming that it deliberately violated accounting rules, as well as an inquiry by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Shell last month said its proved oil and gas reserves, a measure of the company's value, in 2002 were 20 percent less than previously stated. The company's shares in London have declined 10 percent since the announcement.


Rubin, a member of the state pension's investment committee, said that he is consulting with the four law firms the board has on retainer about the matter.


Rubin said the decision would have to be made by March 24, and then ratified at the board's next meeting in April.


Shell, based in London and The Hague, will "defend ourselves vigorously" in shareholder lawsuits, said Simon Buerk, a company spokesman based in London.


2004 American City Business Journals Inc.

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