THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell Lent Former Directors $12M For Legal Costs In 04: “Royal Dutch/Shell said in a filing released Thursday it was in settlement talks on some of the class action litigation unleashed after it was forced to reclassify its oil reserves” (ShellNews.net) 31 March 05
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
March 31, 2005
LONDON -- Royal Dutch/Shell (RD,SC) said in a filing released Thursday it was in settlement talks on some of the class action litigation unleashed after it was forced to reclassify its oil reserves.
In a 20-F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the oil giant said it was in talks with holders of various Shell Oil Company pension plans which had been launched in the U.S. under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
The filing said: "The Group is in settlement discussions with counsel for plaintiffs, which it hopes will lead to a successful resolution of the case without the need for further litigation."
The company didn't disclose any estimated amount it may have to pay in any settlement and said no financial provisions have been taken.
The filing also discloses the company has lent $12 million to former board members to cover litigation costs.
The filing contains no information that the group is in talks on any of the other class action lawsuits launched in the wake of the reserves' reclassification, in which the company revealed its oil reserves were substantially smaller than it had earlier reported and led to the departure of Chief Executive Philip Watts.
Shell 's 20-F filing reiterated that it forecasts output for 2005 and 2006 to remain in the range of 3.5 million to 3.8 million barrels of oil a day, lifting to between 3.8 million and 4.0 million b/d by 2009.
And the company unveiled a new goal, described as a "production aspiration", to produce between 4.5 million and 5.0 million b/d by 2014.
The company also reiterated it expects to deliver around $5 billion of upstream divestments and business swaps between 2004 and 2006.
Shell added: "Following the successful divestments of 2004, more emphasis will be given to swaps."
On acquisitions, Shell 's 20-F said: "Focused acquisitions will be considered, especially those which provide price and exploration upside, which fit the strategic themes the Group targets and where the Group can see clear scope for long-term value growth."
Company Web site: http://www.shell.com
-By Gren Manuel, Dow Jones Newswires; 44 20 7842 9279; email@example.com
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