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Reuters:Unocal Has No Immediate Pla
- Subject: Reuters:Unocal Has No Immediate Pla
- From: ktint@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 11:23:00
Subject: Reuters:Unocal Has No Immediate Plans To Move From U.S.
Unocal Has No Immediate Plans To Move From U.S.
Reuter, Monday April 28 8:06 PM EDT
By David Brinkerhoff
LOS ANGELES, April 28 (Reuter) - Unocal Corp, facing increasing political
pressure over its controversial investment in Burma, said Monday it has
no plans to move its headquarters out of the U.S.
The El Segundo, Calif.-based energy company has come under fire from
human rights groups who claim Unocal should divest its $340 million stake
in a Burmese gas field because the country's military government abuses
Other large companies, including Pepsico Inc, have withdraw from Burma
under pressure from the U.S. goverment and shareholders.
Earlier this year Unocal sold its U.S. refining and marketing operations
to Tosco Corp for $2 billion in order to focus its resources on
international exploration and production.
The sale has fueled speculation Unocal might leave the United States in
order to bypass U.S. sanctions.
According to a report in the May 5 edition of BusinessWeek, Unocal has
restructured its operations to leave the U.S. if the company finds it
However, Unocal spokesman Barry Lane said the company has no plans to
move out of the United States.
"We're not just a regional company anymore but international," Lane said.
"That's not to be construed that we're no longer a legal entity here."
Last week, President Clinton approved economic sanctions against Burma
due to human rights abuses by the Burmese military government. The
sanctions ban new U.S. investment in Burma.
The United States and many other Western countries have criticized Burma
for human rights abuses and for failing to recognize the democratically
elected government of the opposition National League for Democracy, which
was co-founded by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Unocal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Roger Beach said he was
"terribly disappointed" by the president's decision to approve economic
sanctions againt Burma.
Analysts say its typical for multinational companies like Unocal to
separate their domestic and overseas operations, like Unocal did last
year, for tax purposes.
"They're not packing up their bags as far as we can tell, that's not
necessary," said Natwest Secututies Corp analyst Jennifer Weinstein.
Unocal has long claimed the best way to promote democracy in Burma is to
allow foreign investors to help build infrastructure and not target them
But Weinstein says Unocal may not even be considering leaving the U.S.
since previous sanctions against rogue states have grandfathered, or let
continue, established projects by U.S. companies.
"(Unocal) hopes it will be grandfathered out," Weinstein said, adding
Unocal also has valuable U.S. Gulf production that would be costly to
The Free Burma Coaliton, a group which has attacked Burma's government --
the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) -- has said Unocal's
investments support a government uses murder and rape to coerce citizens
into working on Unocal's project.
"If your investing in Burma...it means your helping keep SLORC in power,
which means keeping the country repressed," said Pamela Wellner, a
spokeswoman for the coalition.