(Recasts, adds detail and background, quotes from meeting)
MADRID, March 28 Shareholders of Spain's Repsol
approved the oil major's $5 billion settlement with
Argentina over the 2012 seizure of YPF at an annual
meeting on Friday that also shed light on tensions with Mexico's
Mexican state oil firm Pemex is Repsol's third-largest
shareholder with 9.3 percent and has one representative on
Repsol's board of directors. The Mexican company has publicly
clashed with Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau over his handling of
negotiations with Argentina over YPF.
Aside from approval of the YPF deal, shareholders passed a
new bylaw that would make it difficult to split the company into
two businesses, upstream and downstream.
Some Spanish media had reported that Pemex was planning on
trying to split up the two divisions, thus prompting Repsol's
move to pass the new bylaw, but a representative of Pemex at
Friday's meeting denied any such intention.
"Contrary to what has been published by some media, I want
to say that Pemex has no intention at all of trying to split up
Repsol," Julio Francisco Poulat said on behalf of Pemex.
Pemex was part of an effort by another core shareholder to
oust Brufau in 2012, which remains a sore point for some of the
oil major's other shareholders who asked Pemex to either
cooperate or sell their stake.
"Pemex has a right to be on the board with its 9 percent
stake but it's like a pimple on the board ... It's not healthy
to have someone there who doesn't agree with the management.
They need a way out," shareholder Jesus Almeida said to wide
applause in the auditorium.
Another shareholder, Felipe Izquierdo, asked Brufau: "Have
you not learned your lesson?"
Brufau meanwhile tried to diffuse the tensions, asking
shareholders to let the board manage its internal problems and
try to look towards the future, when Repsol could be making an
acquisition with part of the proceeds from its YPF settlement.
"This deal allows us to focus on organic (or self-generated)
growth, as we've been doing, and also opens up the possibility
of inorganic growth (or acquisitions)," Brufau said.
Repsol has said it is looking for an acquisition to boost
its exploration and production business in North America.
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Fiona Ortiz)