A group representing minority shareholders asked Spain’s CNMV stock market regulator to investigate the recent move by Mexican state oil company Pemex to double its stake in Spanish energy giant Repsol-YPF.
Petroleos Mexicanos announced a week ago that it acquired an additional 56.37 million shares of Repsol, boosting its stake in the Spanish company from 4.62% to 9.43%.
The purchase is part of a pact between Pemex and Spanish construction company Sacyr Vallehermoso to secure control of 29.8% of Repsol as a way of forcing changes to corporate governance.
The Spanish Association of Minority Shareholders, or AEMEC, said that the CNMV should scrutinize several aspects of Pemex’s conduct.
AEMEC wants to know whether Pemex used derivatives or other financial instruments to effectively acquire the additional Repsol shares prior to the Mexican company’s August 29 statement of intent to purchase another 5% percent of the Spanish firm.
Pemex must also reveal if it entered talks with Sacyr prior to the Mexican company’s acquisition in July of 827,000 Repsol shares, AEMEC said in a statement.
The head of Pemex, Juan Jose Suarez Coppel, said last week that his company and Sacyr would like to see Repsol separate the positions of chairman of the board and CEO, both currently held by Antonio Brufau.
Suarez Coppel also said Pemex has “no interest” in increasing its stake in the Spanish oil company to more than 9.81%.
“This operation is respectful of all applicable laws and regulations” and both Pemex and Sacyr are looking to “be in line with all the shareholders” so this is not a conflict pitting “one group against the others,” he said.
“We’ve been very careful with the legal aspects” of the operation, Suarez Coppel said, though Brufau, speaking on behalf of Repsol’s board, described the operation as an “assault.”
Suarez Coppel said the idea is to “keep Repsol Spanish, improve its management, corporate governance and its relations with its subsidiaries”.