EX-4.1 2 a201910-kexhibit41.htm EX-4.1 Document
Description of Common Units
The following description of the common units representing limited partner interests (“common units”) in Shell Midstream Partners, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (the “partnership” or, as the context requires, “we,” “us” or “our”), is a summary and is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by, reference to the provisions of our First Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership, dated as of November 3, 2014, as amended by Amendment No. 1, dated as of February 26, 2018, and as further amended by Amendment No. 2, dated as of December 21, 2018 (collectively referred to herein as our “partnership agreement”), which have been filed as Exhibit 3.2, Exhibit 3.3, and Exhibit 3.4, respectively, to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, of which this Exhibit 4.1 is a part.
Our common units represent limited partner interests in us and are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SHLX.”
Cash Distribution Policy
Distributions of Available Cash
Our partnership agreement requires that, within 60 days after the end of each quarter, we distribute all of our available cash to unitholders of record on the applicable record date.
Available cash generally means, for any quarter, all cash and cash equivalents on hand at the end of that quarter:
•less, the amount of cash reserves established by our general partner, Shell Midstream Partners GP LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (our “general partner”), to:
◦provide for the proper conduct of our business (including reserves for our future maintenance and expansion capital expenditures, future acquisitions and anticipated future debt service requirements and refunds of collected rates reasonably likely to be refunded as a result of a settlement or hearing related to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) rate proceedings or rate proceedings under applicable law) subsequent to that quarter;
◦comply with applicable law, any of our or our subsidiaries’ debt instruments or other agreements; or
◦provide funds for distributions to our unitholders and to our general partner for any one or more of the next four quarters (provided that our general partner may not establish cash reserves for distributions if the effect of the establishment of such reserves will prevent us from making the minimum quarterly distribution on all common units for the current quarter);
• plus, all cash on hand on the date of determination resulting from dividends or distributions received after the end of the quarter from equity interests in any person other than a subsidiary in respect of operations conducted by such person during the quarter;
• plus, if our general partner so determines, all or any portion of the cash on hand on the date of determination resulting from working capital borrowings after the end of the quarter.
The purpose and effect of the last bullet point above is to allow our general partner, if it so decides, to use cash from working capital borrowings made after the end of the quarter but on or before the date of determination of available cash for that quarter to pay distributions to unitholders. Under our partnership agreement, working capital borrowings are generally borrowings that are made under a credit facility, commercial paper facility or similar financing arrangement, and in all cases are used solely for working capital purposes or to pay distributions to partners, and with the intent of the borrower to repay such borrowings within twelve months with funds other than from additional working capital borrowings.
Intent to Distribute the Minimum Quarterly Distribution
We intend to make at least the minimum quarterly distribution of $0.1625 per unit, or $0.6500 per unit on an annualized basis, to the holders of our units to the extent we have sufficient available cash after the establishment of cash reserves and the payment of costs and expenses, including reimbursements of expenses to our general partner. However, there is no guarantee that we will pay the minimum quarterly distribution or any amount on our units in any quarter. Even if our cash
distribution policy is not modified or revoked, the amount of distributions we pay and the decision to make any distribution is determined by our general partner, taking into consideration the terms of our partnership agreement.
General Partner Interest and Incentive Distribution Rights
Our partnership agreement provides that our general partner is entitled, with respect to its general partner interest, to 2% of all distributions that we make prior to our liquidation. Our general partner has the right, but not the obligation, to contribute up to a proportionate amount of capital to us in order to maintain its 2% general partner interest if we issue additional units. Our general partner’s 2% interest, and the percentage of our cash distributions to which it is entitled from such 2% interest, will be proportionately reduced if we issue additional units in the future (other than the issuance of common units upon a reset of the incentive distribution rights) and our general partner does not contribute a proportionate amount of capital to us in order to maintain its 2% general partner interest. Our partnership agreement does not require that our general partner fund its capital contribution with cash. It may instead fund its capital contribution by the contribution to us of common units or other property.
Our general partner also currently holds incentive distribution rights that entitle it to receive increasing percentages, up to a maximum of 48%, of the cash we distribute from operating surplus (as defined in our partnership agreement) in excess of $0.186875 per unit per quarter. The maximum distribution of 48% does not include any distributions that our general partner or its affiliates may receive on common or general partner units that they own. Please read “-General Partner Interest and Incentive Distribution Rights” below for additional information.
Incentive distribution rights represent the right to receive an increasing percentage (13%, 23% and 48%) of the quarterly distributions of available cash from operating surplus after the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels have been achieved. Our general partner currently holds the incentive distribution rights, but may transfer these rights separately from its general partner interest.
The following is a summary of the unitholder vote required for the matters specified below. Matters requiring the approval of a “unit majority” require the approval of a majority of the outstanding common units. In voting their common units, our general partner and its affiliates will have no duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interests of us or the limited partners, other than the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Issuance of additional units
No unitholder approval right.
Amendment of our partnership agreement
Certain amendments may be made by our general partner without the approval of the unitholders. Other amendments generally require the approval of a unit majority. Please read “—Amendment of Our Partnership Agreement.”
Merger of our partnership or the sale of all or substantially all of our assets
Unit majority in certain circumstances. Please read “—Merger, Consolidation, Conversion, Sale or Other Disposition of Assets.”
Dissolution of our partnership
Unit majority. Please read “—Termination and Dissolution.”
Continuation of our business upon dissolution
Unit majority. Please read “—Termination and Dissolution.”
Withdrawal of our general partner
Under most circumstances, the approval of unitholders holding at least a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, is required for the withdrawal of our general partner prior to December 31, 2024 in a manner that would cause a dissolution of our partnership. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner.”
Removal of our general partner
Not less than 66 2⁄3% of the outstanding units, voting as a single class, including units held by our general partner and its affiliates. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner.”
Transfer of the general partner interest
Our general partner may transfer any or all of its general partner interest in us without a vote of our unitholders. Please read “—Transfer of General Partner Units.”
Transfer of incentive distribution rights
Our general partner may transfer any or all of the incentive distribution rights to an affiliate or another person without a vote of our unitholders. Please read “—Transfer of Incentive Distribution Rights.”
Reset of incentive distribution levels
No unitholder approval required.
Transfer of ownership interests in our general partner
No unitholder approval required. Please read “—Transfer of Ownership Interests in Our General Partner.”
Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation
If we dissolve in accordance with our partnership agreement, we will sell or otherwise dispose of our assets in a process called liquidation. We will first apply the proceeds of liquidation to the payment of our creditors. We will distribute any remaining proceeds to the unitholders and our general partner, in accordance with their capital account balances, as adjusted to reflect any gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of our assets in liquidation. Any further net gain recognized upon liquidation will be allocated in a manner that takes into account the incentive distribution rights of our general partner.
Assuming that a limited partner does not participate in the control of our business within the meaning of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (the “Delaware Act”) and that it otherwise acts in conformity with the provisions of our partnership agreement, its liability under the Delaware Act will be limited, subject to possible exceptions, to the amount of capital it is obligated to contribute to us for its common units plus its share of any undistributed profits and assets. If it were determined, however, that the right, or exercise of the right, by the limited partners as a group:
• to remove or replace our general partner;
• to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement; or
• to take other action under our partnership agreement;
constituted “participation in the control” of our business for the purposes of the Delaware Act, then the limited partners could be held personally liable for our obligations under the laws of Delaware, to the same extent as our general partner. This liability would extend to persons who transact business with us who reasonably believe that the limited partner is a general partner. Neither our partnership agreement nor the Delaware Act specifically provides for legal recourse against our general partner if a limited partner were to lose limited liability through any fault of our general partner. While this does not mean that a limited partner could not seek legal recourse, we know of no precedent for this type of a claim in Delaware case law.
Under the Delaware Act, a limited partnership may not make a distribution to a partner if, after the distribution, all liabilities of the limited partnership, other than liabilities to partners on account of their limited partner interests and liabilities for which the recourse of creditors is limited to specific property of the partnership, would exceed the fair value of the assets of the limited partnership. For the purpose of determining the fair value of the assets of a limited partnership, the Delaware Act provides that the fair value of property subject to liability for which recourse of creditors is limited shall be included in the assets of the limited partnership only to the extent that the fair value of that property exceeds the non-recourse liability. The Delaware Act provides that a limited partner who receives a distribution and knew at the time of the distribution that the distribution was in violation of the Delaware Act shall be liable to the limited partnership for the amount of the distribution for three years. Under the Delaware Act, a substituted limited partner of a limited partnership is liable for the obligations of its assignor to make contributions to the partnership, except that such person is not obligated for liabilities unknown to it at the time it became a limited partner and that could not be ascertained from our partnership agreement.
Our subsidiaries conduct business in several states, and we may have subsidiaries that conduct business in other states in the future. Maintenance of our limited liability as a limited partner or member of our operating subsidiaries may require compliance with legal requirements in the jurisdictions in which our operating subsidiaries conduct business, including qualifying our subsidiaries to do business there.
Limitations on the liability of limited partners or members for the obligations of a limited partnership or limited liability company have not been clearly established in many jurisdictions. If, by virtue of our limited partner interest in our operating company or otherwise, it were determined that we were conducting business in any state without compliance with the applicable limited partnership or limited liability company statute, or that the right or exercise of the right by the limited partners as a group to remove or replace our general partner, to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement or to take other action under our partnership agreement constituted “participation in the control” of our business for purposes of the statutes of any relevant jurisdiction, then the limited partners could be held personally liable for our obligations under the law of that jurisdiction to the same extent as our general partner under the circumstances. We will operate in a manner that our general partner considers reasonable and necessary or appropriate to preserve the limited liability of the limited partners.
Issuance of Additional Partnership Interests
Our partnership agreement authorizes us to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership interests for the consideration and on the terms and conditions determined by our general partner without the approval of the unitholders.
It is possible that we will fund acquisitions through the issuance of additional common units or other partnership interests. Holders of any additional common units we issue will be entitled to share equally with the then-existing holders of common units in our distributions of available cash. In addition, the issuance of additional common units or other partnership interests may dilute the value of the interests of the then-existing holders of common units in our net assets.
In accordance with Delaware law and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may also issue additional partnership interests that, as determined by our general partner, may have special voting rights to which the common units are not entitled. In addition, our partnership agreement does not prohibit the issuance by our subsidiaries of equity interests, which may effectively rank senior to the common units.
Upon issuance of additional limited partner interests (other than the issuance of common units in connection with a reset of the incentive distribution target levels), our general partner will be entitled, but not required, to make additional capital contributions up to the amount necessary to maintain its 2% general partner interest in us. Our general partner’s 2% interest in us will be reduced if we issue additional units in the future and our general partner does not contribute a proportionate amount of capital to us to maintain its 2% general partner interest. Moreover, our general partner will have the right, which it may from time to time assign in whole or in part to any of its affiliates, to purchase common units or other partnership interests whenever, and on the same terms that, we issue those interests to persons other than our general partner and its affiliates, to the extent necessary to maintain the percentage interest of our general partner and its affiliates, including such interest represented by common units, that existed immediately prior to each issuance. The other holders of common units will not have preemptive rights to acquire additional common units or other partnership interests.
Amendment of Our Partnership Agreement
Amendments to our partnership agreement may be proposed only by our general partner. However, our general partner will have no duty or obligation to propose any amendment and may decline to propose or approve any amendment to our partnership agreement. In order to adopt a proposed amendment, other than the amendments discussed below, our general partner is required to seek written approval of the holders of the number of units required to approve the amendment or call a meeting of the limited partners to consider and vote upon the proposed amendment. Except as described below, an amendment must be approved by a unit majority.
No amendment may be made that would:
• enlarge the obligations of any limited partner without its consent, unless such is deemed to have occurred as a result of an amendment approved by at least a majority of the type or class of limited partner interests so affected; or
• enlarge the obligations of, restrict in any way any action by or rights of, or reduce in any way the amounts distributable, reimbursable or otherwise payable by us to our general partner or any of its affiliates without its consent, which consent may be given or withheld at its option.
The provisions of our partnership agreement preventing the amendments having the effects described in any of the clauses above can be amended upon the approval of the holders of at least 90% of the outstanding units voting together as a single class (including units owned by our general partner and its affiliates).
No Limited Partner Approval
Our general partner may generally make amendments to our partnership agreement without the approval of any limited partner to reflect:
• a change in our name, the location of our principal office, our registered agent or our registered office;
• the admission, substitution, withdrawal or removal of partners in accordance with our partnership agreement;
• a change that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate to qualify or continue our qualification as a limited partnership or a partnership in which the limited partners have limited liability under the laws of any state or to ensure that neither we nor any of our subsidiaries will be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise taxed as an entity for federal income tax purposes;
• a change in our fiscal year or taxable year and any other changes that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate as a result of such change;
• an amendment that is necessary, in the opinion of our counsel, to prevent us or our general partner or its directors, officers, trustees or agents from in any manner being subjected to the provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, or “plan asset” regulations adopted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, each as amended, whether or not substantially similar to plan asset regulations currently applied or proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor;
• an amendment that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate for the authorization or issuance of additional partnership interests;
• any amendment expressly permitted in our partnership agreement to be made by our general partner acting alone;
• an amendment effected, necessitated or contemplated by a merger agreement or plan of conversion that has been approved under the terms of our partnership agreement;
• any amendment that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate to reflect and account for the formation by us of, or our investment in, any corporation, partnership, joint venture, limited liability company or other entity, in connection with our conduct of activities permitted by our partnership agreement;
• an amendment providing that any transferee of a limited partner interest (including any nominee holder or an agent or representative acquiring such limited partner interest for the account of another person) shall be deemed to certify that the transferee is an Eligible Taxable Holder (as defined below in “—Ineligible Holders; Redemption”);
• conversions into, mergers with or conveyances to another limited liability entity that is newly formed and has no assets, liabilities or operations at the time of the conversion, merger or conveyance other than those it receives by way of the conversion, merger or conveyance; or
• any other amendments substantially similar to any of the matters described in the clauses above.
In addition, our general partner may make amendments to our partnership agreement without the approval of any limited partner if our general partner determines that those amendments:
• do not adversely affect in any material respect the limited partners considered as a whole or any particular class of partnership interests as compared to other classes of partnership interests;
• are necessary or appropriate to satisfy any requirements, conditions or guidelines contained in any opinion, directive, order, ruling or regulation of any federal or state agency or judicial authority or contained in any federal or state statute;
• are necessary or appropriate to facilitate the trading of limited partner interests or to comply with any rule, regulation, guideline or requirement of any securities exchange on which the limited partner interests are or will be listed or admitted to trading;
• are necessary or appropriate for any action taken by our general partner relating to splits or combinations of units under the provisions of our partnership agreement; or
• are required to effect the intent of the provisions of our partnership agreement or are otherwise contemplated by our partnership agreement.
Opinion of Counsel and Unitholder Approval
For amendments of the type not requiring unitholder approval, our general partner will not be required to obtain an opinion of counsel to the effect that an amendment will not affect the limited liability of any limited partner under Delaware law. No other amendments to our partnership agreement will become effective without the approval of holders of at least 90% of the outstanding units voting as a single class unless we first obtain such an opinion.
In addition to the above restrictions, any amendment that would have a material adverse effect on the rights or preferences of any type or class of partnership interests in relation to other classes of partnership interests will require the approval of at least a majority of the type or class of partnership interests so affected. Any amendment that would reduce the percentage of units required to take any action, other than to remove our general partner or call a meeting of unitholders, must be approved by the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute not less than the percentage sought to be reduced. Any amendment that would increase the percentage of units required to remove our general partner must be approved by the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute not less than 90% of outstanding units. Any amendment that would increase the percentage of units required to call a meeting of unitholders must be approved by the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute at least a majority of the outstanding units.
Merger, Consolidation, Conversion, Sale or Other Disposition of Assets
A merger, consolidation or conversion of our partnership requires the prior consent of our general partner. However, our general partner will have no duty or obligation to consent to any merger, consolidation or conversion and may decline to do so free of any duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interests of us or the limited partners, other than the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
In addition, our partnership agreement generally prohibits our general partner without the prior approval of the holders of a unit majority, from causing us to, among other things, sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets in a single transaction or a series of related transactions. Our general partner may, however, mortgage, pledge, hypothecate or grant a security interest in all or substantially all of our assets without that approval. Our general partner may also sell any or all of our assets under a foreclosure or other realization upon those encumbrances without that approval. Finally, our general partner may consummate any merger with another limited liability entity without the prior approval of our unitholders if we are the surviving entity in the transaction, our general partner has received an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters, the transaction would not result in an amendment to our partnership agreement requiring unitholder approval, each of our units will be an identical unit of our partnership following the transaction, and the partnership interests to be issued by us in such merger do not exceed 20% of our outstanding partnership interests immediately prior to the transaction.
If the conditions specified in our partnership agreement are satisfied, our general partner may convert us or any of our subsidiaries into a new limited liability entity or merge us or any of our subsidiaries into, or convey all of our assets to, a newly formed entity, if the sole purpose of that conversion, merger or conveyance is to effect a mere change in our legal form into another limited liability entity, our general partner has received an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters, and our general partner determines that the governing instruments of the new entity provide the limited partners and our general partner with the same rights and obligations as contained in our partnership agreement. The unitholders are not entitled to dissenters’ rights of appraisal under our partnership agreement or applicable Delaware law in the event of a conversion, merger or consolidation, a sale of substantially all of our assets or any other similar transaction or event.
Termination and Dissolution
We will continue as a limited partnership until dissolved and terminated under our partnership agreement. We will dissolve upon:
• the withdrawal or removal of our general partner or any other event that results in its ceasing to be our general partner, other than by reason of a transfer of its general partner interest in accordance with our partnership agreement or a withdrawal or removal followed by approval and admission of a successor;
• the election of our general partner to dissolve us, if approved by the holders of units representing a unit majority;
• the entry of a decree of judicial dissolution of our partnership; or
• there being no limited partners, unless we are continued without dissolution in accordance with applicable Delaware law.
Upon a dissolution under the first bullet point above, the holders of a unit majority may also elect, within specific time limitations, to continue our business on the same terms and conditions described in our partnership agreement by appointing as a successor general partner an entity approved by the holders of units representing a unit majority, subject to our receipt of an opinion of counsel to the effect that:
• the action would not result in the loss of limited liability of any limited partner; and
• neither our partnership nor any of our subsidiaries would be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise be taxable as an entity for federal income tax purposes upon the exercise of that right to continue.
Liquidation and Distribution of Proceeds
Upon our dissolution, unless we are continued as a new limited partnership, the liquidator authorized to wind up our affairs will, acting with all of the powers of our general partner that are necessary or appropriate, liquidate our assets and apply the proceeds of the liquidation as described in “Cash Distribution Policy—Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation.” The liquidator may defer liquidation or distribution of our assets for a reasonable period of time or distribute assets to partners in-kind if it determines that a sale would be impractical or would cause undue loss to our partners.
Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner
Except as described below, our general partner has agreed not to withdraw voluntarily as our general partner prior to December 31, 2024 without obtaining the approval of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, and furnishing an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters. On or after December 31, 2024, our general partner may withdraw as general partner without first obtaining approval of any unitholder by giving 90 days’ written notice, and that withdrawal will not constitute a violation of our partnership agreement. Notwithstanding the information above, our general partner may withdraw without unitholder approval upon 90 days’ notice to the limited partners if at least 50% of the outstanding units are held or controlled by one person and its affiliates other than our general partner and its affiliates. In addition, our partnership agreement permits our general partner to sell or otherwise transfer all of its general partner interest in us without the approval of the unitholders. Please read “—Transfer of General Partner Units” and “—Transfer of Incentive Distribution Rights.”
Upon voluntary withdrawal of our general partner by giving notice to the other partners, the holders of a unit majority may select a successor to that withdrawing general partner. If a successor is not elected, or is elected but an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters cannot be obtained, we will be dissolved, wound up and liquidated, unless within a specified period after that withdrawal, the holders of a unit majority agree to continue our business by appointing a successor general partner. Please read “—Termination and Dissolution.”
Our general partner may not be removed unless that removal is approved by the vote of the holders of not less than 66 2/3% of the outstanding units, voting together as a single class, including units held by our general partner and its affiliates, and we receive an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters. Any removal of our general partner is also subject to the approval of a successor general partner by the vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common units. The ownership of more than 33 1/3% of the outstanding units by our general partner and its affiliates would give them the practical ability to prevent our general partner’s removal.
Our partnership agreement also provides that if our general partner is removed as our general partner under circumstances where cause does not exist and units held by our general partner and its affiliates are not voted in favor of that removal, our general partner will have the right to convert its general partner interest and its incentive distribution rights into common units or to receive cash in exchange for those interests based on the fair market value of those interests as of the effective date of its removal.
In the event of removal of our general partner under circumstances where cause exists or withdrawal of our general partner where that withdrawal violates our partnership agreement, a successor general partner will have the option to purchase the general partner interest and incentive distribution rights of the departing general partner for a cash payment equal to the fair market value of those interests. Under all other circumstances where our general partner withdraws or is removed by the limited partners, the departing general partner will have the option to require the successor general partner to purchase the general partner interest of the departing general partner and its incentive distribution rights for fair market value. In each case,
this fair market value will be determined by agreement between the departing general partner and the successor general partner. If no agreement is reached, an independent investment banking firm or other independent expert selected by the departing general partner and the successor general partner will determine the fair market value. If the departing general partner and the successor general partner cannot agree upon an expert, then an expert chosen by agreement of the experts selected by each of them will determine the fair market value.
If the option described above is not exercised by either the departing general partner or the successor general partner, the departing general partner will become a limited partner and its general partner interest and its incentive distribution rights will automatically convert into common units pursuant to a valuation of those interests as determined by an investment banking firm or other independent expert selected in the manner described in the preceding paragraph.
In addition, we will be required to reimburse the departing general partner for all amounts due the departing general partner, including, without limitation, all employee-related liabilities, including severance liabilities, incurred for the termination of any employees employed by the departing general partner or its affiliates for our benefit.
Transfer of General Partner Units
Our general partner may transfer all or any of its general partner units to an affiliate or a third party without the approval of our unitholders. As a condition of this transfer, the transferee must, among other things, assume the rights and duties of our general partner, agree to be bound by the provisions of our partnership agreement and furnish an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters.
Our general partner and its affiliates may at any time, transfer common units to one or more persons without unitholder approval.
Transfer of Ownership Interests in Our General Partner
At any time, Shell Pipeline Company LP and its subsidiaries may sell or transfer all or part of their membership interest in our general partner to an affiliate or third party without the approval of our unitholders.
Transfer of Incentive Distribution Rights
At any time, our general partner may sell or transfer its incentive distribution rights to an affiliate or third party without the approval of our unitholders.
Transfer of Common Units
By transfer of common units in accordance with our partnership agreement, each transferee of common units shall be admitted as a limited partner with respect to the common units transferred when such transfer and admission are reflected in our books and records. Each transferee, with or without executing our partnership agreement:
• agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions of our partnership agreement;
• represents and warrants that the transferee has the right, power, authority and capacity to enter into our partnership agreement; and
• gives the consents, waivers and approvals contained in our partnership agreement, such as the approval of all transactions and agreements that we entered into in connection with our formation and that we enter into in connection with an offering pursuant to a prospectus.
We are entitled to treat the nominee holder of a common unit as the absolute owner in the event such nominee is the record holder of such common unit. In such case, the beneficial holder’s rights are limited solely to those that it has against the nominee holder as a result of any agreement between the beneficial owner and the nominee holder.
Our common units are securities and are transferable according to the laws governing the transfer of securities. Until a common unit has been transferred on our register, we and the transfer agent are entitled to treat the record holder of the common unit as the absolute owner, except as otherwise required by law or stock exchange regulations.
A unitholder who sells any of his or her units is generally required to notify us in writing of that sale within 30 days after the sale (or, if earlier, January 15 of the year following the sale). A purchaser of units who purchases units from another
unitholder is also generally required to notify us in writing of that purchase within 30 days after the purchase. Upon receiving such notifications, we are required to notify the U.S. Internal Revenue Service of that transaction and to furnish specified information to the transferor and transferee. Failure to notify us of a purchase may, in some cases, lead to the imposition of penalties. However, these reporting requirements do not apply to a sale by an individual who is a citizen of the United States and who effects the sale or exchange through a broker who will satisfy such requirements.
Change of Management Provisions
Our partnership agreement contains specific provisions that are intended to discourage a person or group from attempting to remove Shell Midstream Partners GP LLC as our general partner or otherwise change our management. If any person or group other than our general partner and its affiliates acquires beneficial ownership of 20% or more of any class of units, that person or group loses voting rights on all of its units. This loss of voting rights does not apply to any person or group that acquires the units from our general partner or its affiliates and any transferees of that person or group who are notified by our general partner that they will not lose their voting rights or to any person or group who acquires the units with the prior approval of the board of directors of our general partner.
Our partnership agreement also provides that if our general partner is removed as our general partner under circumstances where cause does not exist and units held by our general partner and its affiliates are not voted in favor of that removal, our general partner will have the right to convert its general partner units and its incentive distribution rights into common units or to receive cash in exchange for those interests based on the fair market value of those interests as of the effective date of its removal.
Limited Call Right
If at any time our general partner and its affiliates own more than 75% of the then-issued and outstanding limited partner interests of any class, our general partner will have the right, which it may assign in whole or in part to any of its affiliates or to us, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the limited partner interests of such class held by unaffiliated persons as of a record date to be selected by our general partner, on at least 10 but not more than 60 days’ notice. The purchase price in the event of this purchase is the greater of:
• the highest cash price paid by either of our general partner or any of its affiliates for any limited partner interests of the class purchased within the 90 days preceding the date on which our general partner first mails notice of its election to purchase those limited partner interests; and
• the current market price calculated in accordance with our partnership agreement as of the date three business days before the date the notice is mailed.
As a result of our general partner’s right to purchase outstanding limited partner interests, a holder of limited partner interests may have its limited partner interests purchased at a price that may be lower than market prices at various times prior to such purchase or lower than a unitholder may anticipate the market price to be in the future. The tax consequences to a unitholder of the exercise of this call right are the same as a sale by that unitholder of its common units in the market.
Ineligible Holders; Redemption
Under our partnership agreement, an “Eligible Taxable Holder” is a limited partner whose, or whose owners’, federal income tax status does not have or is not reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on the rates that can be charged by us on assets that are subject to regulation by FERC or a similar regulatory body, as determined by our general partner with the advice of counsel. An “Ineligible Holder” is a limited partner (a) who is not an Eligible Taxable Holder or (b) whose nationality, citizenship or other related status would create a substantial risk of cancellation or forfeiture of any property in which we have an interest, as determined by our general partner with the advice of counsel. A list of types of unitholders and whether they are of the type currently determined by the general partner to be Eligible Taxable Holders or Ineligible Holders is set forth in our partnership agreement. Our general partner may change its determination of what types of unitholders are considered Eligible Taxable Holders and Ineligible Holders at any time. We will make an updated list of such types of unitholders available to our unitholders and prospective unitholders.
If at any time our general partner determines, with the advice of counsel, that one or more limited partners are Ineligible Holders, then our general partner may request any limited partner to furnish to our general partner an executed certification or other information about its federal income tax status and/or nationality, citizenship or related status. If a limited partner fails to furnish such certification or other requested information within 30 days (or such other period as our general partner may
determine) after a request for such certification or other information, or our general partner determines after receipt of the information that the limited partner is an Ineligible Holder, the limited partner may be treated as an Ineligible Holder. An Ineligible Holder does not have the right to direct the voting of its units and may not receive distributions in-kind upon our liquidation.
Furthermore, we have the right to redeem all of the common units of any holder that our general partner concludes is an Ineligible Holder or fails to furnish the information requested by our general partner. The redemption price in the event of such redemption for each unit held by such unitholder will be the current market price of such unit (the date of determination of which shall be the date fixed for redemption). The redemption price will be paid, as determined by our general partner, in cash or by delivery of a promissory note. Any such promissory note will bear interest at the rate of 5% annually and be payable in three equal annual installments of principal and accrued interest, commencing one year after the redemption date.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC serves as the registrar and transfer agent for our common units. We will pay all fees charged by the transfer agent for transfers of common units, except the following that must be paid by our unitholders:
• surety bond premiums to replace lost or stolen certificates, or to cover taxes and other governmental charges in connection therewith;
• special charges for services requested by a holder of a common unit; and
• other similar fees or charges.
Unless our general partner determines otherwise in respect of some or all of any classes of our partnership interests, our partnership interests will be evidenced by book entry notation on our partnership register and not by physical certificates.
There will be no charge to our unitholders for disbursements of our cash distributions. We will indemnify the transfer agent, its agents and each of their respective stockholders, directors, officers and employees against all claims and losses that may arise out of acts performed or omitted for its activities in that capacity, except for any liability due to any gross negligence or intentional misconduct of the indemnified person or entity.
Resignation or Removal
The transfer agent may resign, by notice to us, or be removed by us. The resignation or removal of the transfer agent will become effective upon our appointment of a successor transfer agent and registrar and its acceptance of the appointment. If no successor has been appointed and has accepted the appointment within 30 days after notice of the resignation or removal, our general partner may act as the transfer agent and registrar until a successor is appointed.