Shareholders in oil giant Shell (RDSB.L) have overwhelmingly voted to switch its headquarters from the Netherlands to the UK, ending the company's dual share structure, and drop "Royal Dutch" from the name.
The move, planned for early 2022, “will enable a simplification of the company’s share structure and an increase in the speed and flexibility of capital and portfolio actions”, said Shell’s chair Sir Andrew Mackenzie said.
He said the board believes "the simplification will strengthen Shell’s competitiveness and accelerate both shareholder distributions and delivery of its strategy to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050".
The proposal required approval by 75% of shareholder votes cast. A preliminary tally showed 99% of shareholders supported the change.
A final board decision will be taken following completion of the consultation with relevant Shell staff councils.
The board intends to proceed with the simplification as soon as "reasonably practicable provided that it remains, in the board’s view, in the best interests of the company and shareholders as a whole".
Mackenzie has previously said the plan was driven by the Dutch government's scrapping of plans to withdraw a tax on dividends.
Some analysts said the decision could have been motivated by a Dutch court ruling earlier in the year that ordered the company to slash its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030.
Shell is appealing the ruling and has said its environmental policy will not be affected by the move.
"Shell is proud of its Anglo-Dutch heritage and will continue to be a significant employer with a major presence in the Netherlands," where it has some 8,500 staff, the firm stated.
The Dutch government said it was "unpleasantly surprised" and disappointed by the plan, while the UK has welcomed it as a vote of confidence in the British economy post-Brexit.
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