The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister warned Argentina that Spain will “defend Repsol’s interests with all means possible” against a possible state takeover of up to 50% of the oil company’s shares by the Argentine government.
After the weekly cabinet meeting, the 42-year old politician and spokesperson for Spain’s ruling People Party, María Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría Antón, said that the government is working “discretely but with intensity” over the issue.
She also mentioned that President Rajoy’s government could bring the dispute forward to the European Union. According to her, there is in fact a “general preoccupation” about the possibility Argentina would extend its claims to other foreign companies.
“The Spanish government will take appropriate decisions. But there is something I want to tell: measures are not announced, they are adopted. If this government needs to do it, it will do it,” Soraya said at the press conference.
The European Commission expressed today its “concerns to the Argentine government” and assured that it stands “by the Spanish side” in the skirmish.
“We hope that Argentina will honor its international commitments about the protection of foreign investments in its territory, and we stand by Spain in this case,” Olivier Bailly, European Commission spokesman, said today during a news conference.
The announcements come after another face-to-face between Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel Margallo, and the Argentine ambassador, Carlos Bettini.
Meanwhile, tensions between the Spanish petrol company and the Argentine government reflect in the market. Repsol’s shares today reported a significant loss of 2.8% in Madrid’s stock market.
The Ibex35 indicator of the Madrid Stock Exchange showed the lossess of the company, currently trading at 17.47 euros per share. Shares for the Spanish company already lost nearly 25% so far this year.
Repsol YPF however confirmed today that the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), the Spanish government agency responsible for regulating the financial security of the markets in the country, “has not yet received any notification by the Argentine authorities related to its stake in its subsidiary YPF SA.”
An official announcement by President Fernández was expected for yesterday night. However, the President left many disappointed and most certainly won’t mention the issue before her flight to Cartagena, Colombia, where she is scheduled to attend the VI Summit of Americas.