Spain Concerned it Might Lose Control of its Largest Oil Company

Spain's government is concerned that Repsol-YPF, Spain's largest oil company could revert to foreign ownership.

Madrid's concerns have been heightened by recent international market trades that have resulted in 30 percent of Repsol's voting bloc being acquired by Mexico's Petroleos Mexicanos state oil monopoly Pemex and construction company Sacyr Vallehermoso.

Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian said in an interview with Cadena Ser radio that the way to ensure Repsol's "Spanishness" is for the majority of shareholders to be Spanish, as the case now with Sacyr holding 20 percent and savings bank La Caixa 12.8 percent.

Sebastian added that Pemex officials told him in a meeting to discuss the voting deal with Sacyr that Mexico reputedly had no interest in taking control of Repsol-YPF, stating, "They gave me assurances that this operation would in no way put the company's at risk," adding that Repsol-YPF had arrangements with other companies, including Brazil's Petrobras – "also state-run and foreign" – and that is fine "as long as the company's Spanishness is not at risk." Pemex reported that a key element of its agreement with Sacyr is to expand its operations globally.

(The original article appears at


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