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Spain prefers other buyer for Repsol

Spain's Interior Minister said he would probably prefer another company to buy builder Sacyr Vallehermoso's 20% stake in oil group Repsol than Russia's LUKOIL.

“If you ask me if there is another partner for Repsol I would prefer than LUKOIL, I would definitely find one,” said Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, speaking on Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

In response to a question on whether he would favour French oil giant Total as a potential partner, Rubalcaba said “Well maybe, but we would have to look at it.”

Russia's LUKOIL is in talks to buy Sacyr's 20% of Repsol and stakes from other shareholders, according to various sources. Spain's government has said it wants Repsol to remain in Spanish hands but will not interfere in a private operation.

On Tuesday, Expansion cited sources close to the government saying the government had contacted French President Nicolas Sarkozy with the aim of persuading Total to look at Repsol.

The French group has been reported in the past to be interested in Repsol.

Rubalcaba said: “Later we will have to see how the operation is carried out and what the voting rights are for the buyer of this stake. Because it's not the same having a 5% stake and voting rights and having 20% and no voting rights.” (Reuters)