Bolivia to seize Spanish bank's shares in Repsol

16th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 May 2006, LA PAZ — The Bolivian government set a deadline of 72 hours for Spain's second-biggest bank to surrender its shares in energy companies after La Paz nationalised this sector.

16 May 2006

LA PAZ — The Bolivian government set a deadline of 72 hours for Spain's second-biggest bank to surrender its shares in energy companies after La Paz nationalised this sector.

The BBVA bank and the Swiss insurers Zurich Financial Services must now transfer their oil and gas shares to the government "free of charge".

Two weeks ago, Bolivian president Evo Morales signed a decree by which the state assumed "absolute control" over the country's energy sector.

"There will be intervention in these pension funds if they don't comply with the decree within three days," warned a spokesman.

Since 1997, BBVA and Zurich Financial Services have managed Bolivia's pension fund management entities Prevision and Futuro, respectively.

The two entities administer a joint fund created with the shares resulting from the partial privatization process of the state firms carried out in the 1990s and allowing the entry of a large amount of foreign investments.

Now Prevision and Futuro must turn over to the state the shares they manage in the petroleum firms Andina, an affiliate of Spain's Repsol YPF; Transredes, owned by Enron and Royal Dutch Shell; and British Petroleum's Chaco.

The companies arose after the dismemberment of the state-owned petroleum company YPFB, which now will recover its executive role by receiving the shares administered by the pension-fund managers in the oil firms, which represent some EUR 547 of the EUR 1.25 billion in the fund.

"We have spoken for ... several months with the AFP people (the pension-fund managers) and we've gotten the cooperation of one more than the other. We received verbal resistance and verbal excess from some of the representatives of the pension funds," said a government spokesman.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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