Antonio Brufau will continue for four more years as non-executive chairman of Repsol, until he is 79. This was decided this Thursday by the shareholders meeting of the largest Spanish oil company, which has also renewed the mandate of the CEO, Josu Jon Imaz, for the same period . The continuity of Brufau -the highest paid non-executive president of the Ibex 35, despite not having executive functions- comes despite the fact that shortly before the last time he had to reissue his position, in 2019, he pointed to 2023 as the date on which the one who would leave the presidency. The executive from Lleida has been a Repsol director since 1996, he was executive president between 2004 and 2015, and non-executive since then.
The shareholders of the oil company have also approved the re-election as directors of Aránzazu Estefanía, María Teresa García-Milá, Henri Philippe Reichstul, John Robinson West and Manuel Manrique, as well as the appointment of María del Pino Velázquez as a member of the highest company’s governing body. The arrival of Pino —former Accenture and former Banco Santander— to the board, replacing Luis Suárez de Lezo, allows Repsol to reach 40% of women on the board, as required by the parity law as of July 1 of the year coming.
Asked about the great caution that the company is showing when it comes to investing the huge profits obtained since the outbreak of the energy crisis, Imaz has advocated “prudence and discipline” with the box and has prided itself on the self-imposed label of the “most boring executive” of the Stock Market. “We want a Repsol that is profitable in 2023, but also in 2030, 2040 or 2050. And we want to be winners of the energy transformation,” stressed the chief executive of the oil company. “The first objective of cash generation is to invest; the second, shareholder remuneration. We have greatly lowered the debt, and that gives us options to carry out small inorganic actions to grow in some businesses”. In recent months, the voices of those calling for a new version of the company’s strategic plan have multiplied, given the total paradigm shift in benefits.
criticism of the EU
Despite applauding the European response – “cohesion and solidarity between countries” – to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an “effort that has avoided a very negative impact for everyone”, Brufau has warned in his speech before the board of the risk that the bloc “remains on the periphery of a large economic nucleus, like a western subcontinent.” To avoid this, he said, a “more determined” industrial policy is needed, aware that “we are entering an era in which the competition for technological and industrial leadership is going to be the one that is going to mark the future of each region”. For now, he has emphasized, Europe is “not going in the right direction.”
Going against the grain, Brufau has also criticized the, in his opinion, “excessive European emphasis on sustainability, forgetting energy security” and the scant awareness of the importance of critical materials for the energy transition, in whose transformation chains China has a role. mastery between 80% and 85%. “As Europeans, we should not forget that climate change is a global issue and not a local one: we cannot fall into Eurocentrism. The risk is to export emissions and lose industrial fabric”.
The Repsol president has also criticized the “single bet” in Europe for electrification and the ban on the combustion engine, which is much more conducive to his business. “The exploration and production of hydrocarbons will continue to be vital in this house [Repsol] and throughout the world ”, has settled. And he added: “We have the goal of zero net emissions by 2050, but we will do it pragmatically, ignoring the siren songs.”
Repsol’s shareholders’ meeting has approved the distribution of a final dividend of 0.35 euros gross per share on July 6 and another of 0.375 charged to free reserves in January next year. Cash remuneration will therefore grow by 11% this year. Additionally, the company will redeem 50 million of its own shares —another way of remunerating the owners of the capital—, with the possibility of a second tranche of redemption of another 132.7 million of its own shares, 10% of the capital.
“Our remuneration policy [dividendos] It is among the most attractive on the Spanish stock market and in the sector. And our commitment is to generate value for the shareholder”, stressed the CEO, Josu Jon Imaz. “The foundations of Repsol’s business in the future are being laid,” he concluded.
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