The Chairman of Repsol YPF, Antonio Brufau, chaired today the Annual Shareholders meeting, in which the distribution of a gross dividend for 2006 of 0.72 euros per share was proposed, representing an increase of 20% with respect to the previous year.
During his intervention, the Chairman of Repsol YPF reviewed the most important events in 2006, in which the company reached a record net income of 3,124 million euros. This milestone was obtained in a complex environment characterised by high volatility in oil prices and a drop in international refining margins.
This result was accompanied by a significant reduction in net financial debt, situating Repsol YPF's debt at 4,396 million euros as of 31 December 2006. The reduction of 117 million euros in respect to 2005 was accompanied by the sizable investments made, which grew 54.5% reaching 5,737 million euros. Financial charges decreased to 482 million euros versus the 722 million euros from the previous year.
Repsol YPF's operating results for 2006 ascended to 5,911 million euros. The Chairman highlighted the positive effect registered in the area of Exploration & Production, which results attained 3,246 million euros, as well as the growth obtained in chemicals and gas and electricity, which grew 14.6% and 20.6% respectively. In chemicals, the operational results ascended to 353 million euros with respect to the 308 million euros in 2005, while gas and electricity’s operational results grew to 469 million euros. In Refining and Marketing, operational results attained where 1,855 million euros, which were affected by the decrease in international refining margins.
The results obtained in 2006 have permitted the Board of Directors to propose to the General Shareholders Meeting the payment of a gross dividend of 0.72 euros per share, representing a 20% increase with respect to the previous year. This increment corresponds to the shareholder sustained retribution growth policy, realized by the current company's management team.
The Chairman of Repsol YPF additionally made reference to the incorporation of Sacyr Vallehermoso as a company shareholder, with ownership of 20.01% of the shares outstanding. Antonio Brufau affirmed that this participation strengthens the company's core of stable shareholders and ensures the continuance of its corporate and industrial project.
Antonio Brufau additionally informed of the creation of the two Vicechairs on the Board which will give the company a more solid governance structure in accordance with the strength of the stable core of shareholders.
The Vicechairs will be held by Luís del Rivero, Chairman of Sacyr Vallehermoso, and Jordi Mercader, First Vicechairman of Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, "la Caixa", both nominated by the main Repsol YPF shareholders.
In the speech before the shareholders, the Chairman of Repsol YPF presented a balance of the actual state and degree of achievement of the 2005-2009 Strategic Plan, noting that the objectives attained by Repsol YPF have reinforced its competitive advantages.
Its leadership in the production and commercialization of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) in the Atlantic Basin; the incorporation of new strategic areas in Exploration and Production; and the extension and consolidation of an efficient refining system, are some of the principal achievements obtained by Repsol YPF during 2006, which will decisively contribute to the company's growth during the next years.
Repsol YPF's Chairman presented to the shareholders the key elements of the company's performance during the next years:
Antonio Brufau indicated to the shareholders that dividend growth accompanied by adequate financial discipline is a priority in his management of the company. He added that his objective is to attain "a transparent company, with a very profitable business and a brilliant future".
Likewise, the General Shareholders Meeting approved the appointment of Luis Carlos Croissier and Ángel Durández as new independent outside directors. With these appointments, the Board of Directors will count on 8 independent outside directors.
The General Shareholders Meeting has also approved ratification and appointment of Juan Abelló, Luis Fernando del Rivero and Jose Manuel Loureda as institutional outside directors nominated bySacyr Vallehermoso, and of Manuel Raventos as institutional outside director nominated by "la Caixa".
To finalise, the Chairman also recognised the milestones attained by Repsol YPF in the area of transparency in 2006.
Repsol YPF has been classified as the most transparent oil company in the world by the selective indices Dow Jones Sustainability World and Dow Jones Sustainability. In addition its 2006 Corporate Responsibility Report obtained the maximum transparency qualification by GRI (Global Reporting Initiative).
Antonio Brufau demonstrated his satisfaction for the positive valuation realized by the Committee of Independent Experts, comprised of Transparency International, WWF Adena, World Bank Institute and the foundations, Economistas sin Fronteras y Ecologia y Desarrollo, for the diligent work in transparency realized by Repsol YPF in 2006.
The Chairman of Repsol YPF emphasized the company's requirements along the lines of good governance, noting outstanding reference to the creation of an Ethics Committee in charge of the management and supervision of the Ethics and Conduct Regulation for Repsol YPF Employees.