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Repsol board votes to ratify chairman

Sat 16th Jan 2010
p>The board of oil firm Repsol voted on Friday to ratify Antonio Brufau as the company's chairman in the latest sign of friction between their shareholders.

In a filing to the Spanish market regulator, Repsol said the three directors who represent Sacyr-Vallehermoso on Repsol's board didn't attend the extraordinary meeting.

Sacyr holds three board seats at Repsol, Criteria CaixaCorp , investment arm of Spanish savings bank La Caixa, holds two seats and Mexico's Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has one. Independent directors occupy Repsol's remaining 10 board seats.

Sacyr, which owns 20% of Repsol and is saddled with a EUR11.8 billion debt load, has complained for months about Repsol's strategy and has requested the company pay a higher dividend instead of allocating the funds for oil exploration and development.

Sacyr declined to comment.

Repsol added that it rejected "the destabilization of the company's management."

Spain's Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian later Friday said his goverment will stay out of "internal problems" at any company, but added the government wishes that no harm will be done to Repsol, Spain's biggest oil company.

Sebastian spoke during a press conference in Seville, southern Spain, after a meeting of European Union energy ministers.

Brufau, who became Repsol's chairman in 2004, is widely credited with transforming the company from one without large reserves and primarily focused on refining petroleum products into one with sizable success in oil discoveries in some of the world's most promising new oil regions.

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