Shell could abandon London for a New York listing as it considers ‘all options’—and, if it does, the FTSE 100 could lose its biggest player

There’s no disputing Shell’s stature compared to other British, or even European, stocks. 

By most measures—whether that’s the FTSE 100 companies ranked by market cap, or the Fortune 500 Europe list that looks at company revenues—the $231 billion-worth oil and gas giant is a leader. 

It’s been critical to keeping London in the game as a hub for big business, even as the British capital city has witnessed an exodus of companies picking listings in New York over the London Stock Exchange.

But that could change. 

Shell is looking at “all options” that could help bolster its valuation, including moving its listing from London to New York. 

“If we work through the sprint, and we are doing what we are doing, and we still don’t see that the gap is closing, we have to look at all options,” Shell CEO Wael Sawan told Bloomberg Opinion, referring to the “sprint” period through 2025 aimed at boosting shareholders returns.

He conceded that Shell’s London listing was “undervalued,” as he explained why its valuations were lower than competitors like ExxonMobil, according to the column.  

A Shell spokesperson told Fortune that Sawan made similar comments since last year during the company’s Capital Markets Day. At the time, he spoke about revamping the company by simplifying it, creating more value with fewer emissions, reducing costs and more.   

The company will wait till next year to mull over its options regarding shifting its listing.

Sawan’s strategy to exit underperforming segments has resulted in him axing some clean energy investments. While the move has invited criticism, Shell says it’s still on track to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Investors have also been happy with it, as the U.K.-listed company’s shares have been trading at record highs.

With British companies looking for greener pastures in the U.S., top chiefs flagging low pay and public listings feeling tedious, post-Brexit U.K. has seen more discouraging news in the business realm than it hoped for. If Shell decides to wind up its London listing, it’ll be the biggest in the string of blows the city has faced as it’ll lose its biggest FTSE 100 company. But that’s not all—Shell has also paid significant dividends to its shareholders, who’ll miss out if the company shifts to America. 

In 2023, Shell raked in a $28 billion profit and paid shareholders a total of $23 billion. It also boosted its fourth-quarter dividends by 4%.  

To be sure, Sawan has voiced his skepticism about staying wedded to the U.K. in the past. 

Although the energy major has deep ties with the country going back over 100 years, murky energy policy and tax hurdles have made its appeal lessen in recent times. 

On the other hand, Shell has been welcomed in the States, where Sawan saw more support, he said in a July interview with the BBC.  

“There are many who question whether that valuation gap can only be bridged if we move to the U.S.,” Sawan said, adding that he wouldn’t rule out the option after 2025. 

“Ultimately, I am in the service of shareholder value,” he said.

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