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Repsol Chief To Resign If the Company doesn't Remain Spanish

The statement appears to underscore Spaniards unhappiness about a possible sale of a substantial stake in the company to Russian Lukoil

Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero also said his country will fight to keep Repsol Spanish and independent.

Two of Repsol's primary stockholders have said that they were in talks with the Russian oil company to sell their stake. Holding company Criteria Caixa, the investment arm of La Caixa, holds a 12.5% stake in Repsol. La Caixa said it would sell part of its stake if debt-laden Spanish builder Sacyr Vallehermoso, Repsol's biggest shareholder with a 20.0% stake, also reaches an agreement to sell.

But fresh reports suggest that Lukoil's ambitions to expand in Spain may yet be checked. The chairman of Sacyr Vallehermoso, Luis del Rivero, has asked for government aid as an alternative to selling its stake to Lukoil, according to a report in El Mundo newspaper, citing sources involved in the talks.

Sacyr Vallehermoso, which put its Repsol stake up for sale in September as it struggled with a falling property market and massive debt, declined to comment. At $37.81 per share, 30.0% of Repsol is worth $14.09 billion. Lukoil is reportedly interested in acquiring a 30.0% stake in the company, which would turn it into a majority shareholder. Repsol is trading at roughly half the price from the original 30 euros per share Sacyr paid for the shares in 2006.

The possible sale has sparked political concerns that Spain's biggest oil producer could end up in Russian control. Shares of Repsol rose 1.15% on Thursday morning in Madrid.

Author: Ksenia Kochneva