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Daily Mail: Shell's pain is Cairn Energy's gain: "Canny Scottish operator Cairn bought the Indian fields three years ago for just 4m - from Shell.": Wednesday 21 Sept 2005

 

By Ruth Sunderland

 

SHELL has been forced into a climb down following a row with 400 rebel private investors over the unification of its British and Dutch arms.

 

The dissident small shareholders had refused an offer from Shell to sell their shares in its former Dutch parent company because it would have landed them with 40pc capital gains tax bills.

 

The company will now offer a loan note to the rebels which can be exchanged for new shares -therefore avoiding a tax charge.

 

The UK side of Shell was united with its Netherlands counterpart this summer in a bid to improve transparency in the wake of last year's oil reserves scandal.

 

But the move left 3,000 UK investors facing a 77m tax bill. Some 1,700 have already sold the shares, and it is not known whether a further 900 opted to sell or hang on.

 

Shell's annoyance mounted yesterday after shares in rival Cairn Energy rose 95p to an all-time high of 2009p thanks to black gold in Rajasthan, India.

 

Canny Scottish operator Cairn bought the Indian fields three years ago for just 4m - from Shell.

 

The rise in the Edinburgh-based group, where shares have almost doubled since the start of the year, values the stake held by founder Bill Gammell at nearly 23m.

 

Meanwhile London Brent crude prices fell $1.93 to $63.65 a barrel as the Opec producers' cartel offered 2m barrels of spare capacity to the markets from October 1 if needed.

 

US crude fell $1.39 to $66.00 after a $4 gain on Monday as another hurricane headed toward the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

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