Once again, 'green' grandstanding and virtue signaling has come back to bite people square in the 'common sense' arse. The latest example comes from the Netherlands.
Green activists caused "political uproar" when burdensome taxes against multinationals were considering being lifted several years ago. Now, those taxes have forced major corporations like Shell and Unilever out of the country.
Hours after Shell announced it would end its dual share structure and move its entire tax base to the U.K., the Netherlands is scrambling to try and keep the oil major within its borders.
In what the FT called "an eleventh hour attempt to keep Shell in the Netherlands", the government is attempting to abolish a dividend tax that Shell has cited as the reason it wants to move its headquarters to the U.K.
"...the caretaker government of Mark Rutte was seeking to find a last-minute parliamentary majority to scrap a 15 per cent withholding tax that has long been a source of complaint for Shell and fellow Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever," FT reported on Monday. Rutte's coalition had been looking at scrapping the tax since 2017 in order to induce more businesses to move to the country.
Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden had previously cited the dividend tax as a reason to consider leaving the country. The U.K. doesn't have a withholding dividend tax.
Shell will still list in Amsterdam, but will no longer need two classes of stock. At the moment, Shell can only buyback shares of its B class stock without restriction and its B class stock is subject to limits on buyback purchases each quarter.
The push for simplification comes at a time when Shell is under pressure from activist investors at Third Point to split up its business. Third Point has said Shell is "bogged down" by an "incoherent strategy".
Shell shareholders will vote on the planned changes on December 10.
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