Financial Accounting Blog

Sunday, March 14, 2004

The New York Times reports that Britian's top market regulator is joining the US's SEC and Dutch regulators in an informal investigation of the restatement of Royal/Dutch Shell Group's proven reserves of oil and petroleom in January
The pressure on Shell and on its board and executives is unlikely to let up any time soon. On Friday, the company is to publish its annual report, which will disclose the amount paid to the former chairman, Sir Philip Watts, and the head of exploration and production, Walter van de Vijver. If either were given performance-related bonuses or raises in 2003, investors are expected to be highly critical.

The two executives were asked to leave on March 3, after a preliminary board investigation into the reasons Shell decreased its estimates by 20 percent. A series of internal memorandums obtained by The New York Times shows that Shell executives knew of the reserve discrepancy as early as 2002, but opted not to disclose the problem to investors.
Look for Shell's stock to fall throughout the investigation due to increased risk to investors.(Ryan Rebholz)