Pemex to take legal action if Repsol rights not respected

Mexican minister wants calm restored after Sacyr share pact row

Mexican Energy Minister Jordy Herrera, who also chairs the board of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), has threatened to take legal action if Pemex's rights in Repsol YPF are affected by the recent change in the chairmanship of Sacyr Vallehermoso, the Spanish oil firm's biggest shareholder.

Luis del Rivero was ousted as Sacyr chairman last week and replaced by the Spanish builder and services group's chief executive, Manuel Manrique. Del Rivero was the architect of an agreement with Pemex under which Sacyr and the state-owned Mexican oil company will pool their stakes in Repsol and vote jointly on major strategic decisions taken by the Spanish company. As a sidebar to that deal, Pemex increased its stake in Repsol to 9.45 percent from five percent.

More information
Del Rivero removed as Sacyr chairman over Repsol dispute
Pemex saw bargain with Sacyr pact in Repsol

However, Del Rivero's removal has thrown the effectiveness of the alliance with Sacyr up in the air.

"If the corporate rights to which Pemex has a legitimate right as a shareholder are not respected, without doubt we will explore the possibility of legal action, although what would be desirable is that from henceforth we have better communication with the members of Repsol's board and reach an agreement to the benefit of the company," Herrera told reporters on Monday in Mexico City.

The minister insisted that for the moment Pemex did not intend to break its agreement with Sacyr, which has angered Repsol's management. The main reason for Del Rivero's ouster was the pact with Pemex, and Manrique meet with Repsol's chairman, Antonio Brufau, last week in an effort to restore good relations with the oil company's board. "We have an agreement to vote together," Herrera said. "The decisions Sacyr takes in-house are of their own concern. While there is no communication indicating otherwise, the agreement remains in place."

He said if Sacyr decides to offload part of its stake in Repsol, Pemex's investment committee will decide what action to take. "Otherwise, we will work on the basis that Pemex will retain its current stake," he added.

Herrera was speaking the same day that Pemex's chief executive officer, Juan José Suárez Coppel, who negotiated the deal with Sacyr, was due to arrive in Madrid.

The Mexican energy minister insisted that Pemex's decision to increase its stake in Repsol was taken to guarantee its corporate rights and its representation on Repsol's board, and as such was independent of its decision to syndicate its voting rights with Sacyr. Suárez Coppel was questioned by two parliamentary committees in Mexico on the alliance with Sacyr, which local analysts believe is now dead in the water.

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS