A Consensus of Interests
There has also been a lot of talk about the ‘golden share’ and the veto power conserved by the Kirchner government in Repsol YPF, which could wind up blocking whatever deal is made concerning the 20% of the shares currently owned by Sacyr Vallehermoso. There are differing views about the real extent of this veto power; some experts say the veto would be sufficient to block the deal while others say that couldn’t happen. This much is clear: The veto provides another reason why politics are important for the future of Repsol YPF. The Spanish government, when it privatized the country’s large energy companies, also preserved a similar veto option, but the European Union forced Spain to nullify that. Nevertheless, in moments such as these, many people wonder whether it would have been preferable to preserve some sort of defense mechanism.
Guillén believes that in an effort to preserve the independence of Repsol YPF, “they could reinstate the ‘golden share’ or some sort of administrative controls.” However, he believes “[the European Union] would object to that. This is a very delicate situation, but clearly Repsol YPF needs a business partner.” Such a companion would be more ideal if its interests meshed well with the interests of the governments of Spain and Argentina. One possible candidate, notes Pampillón, is Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company. “[Petrobras] would be the company that could best balance the interests of the two countries…. I consider it a workable solution because it is a natural ally.”
Elsewhere, Petrobras already shares some corporate ownership with Repsol YPF, within a consortium of companies that discovered deposits of high-quality crude in the basin of Santos, Brazil last June. Another factor in favor of Petrobras, according to Pampillón, is that Petrobras “is a company that is close to Argentina, and also has good relationships with the United States, another area in which the Kirchners are interested in strengthening their position.”
For all that, Petrobras denied last November that it might be interested in acquiring any shares in Repsol YPF. This denial is just one of many negative statements issued by oil companies around the world ever since Sacyr Vallehermoso began last summer to search for someone to buy its shares. Still, many cards remain to be played in this game, and the key players could change their strategies at any moment.
Publish Date: Jan 07, 2009
Toma mate, mientras las gilada se embelesa en “el deber ser”, el curro les pasa por el costado.