Unocal Not for Sale

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Unocal Not for Sale

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Leading independent refiner Unocal Corp. will not go on the market after shareholders yesterday overwhelmingly rejected outside proposals to split the roles of chief executive and chairman and to hire an investment bank to sell the company.

The company also said it had no intention of withdrawing from Myanmar despite legal challenges to its involvement with that country's military-ruled government, which has been criticized for human rights abuses, according to the Associated Press.

Unocal's board had recommended against both of the failed shareholder resolutions. The proposal that it effectively bar Chief Executive Charles Williamson from also serving as chairman drew just over 10 percent of votes cast. The proposal that it hire an investment bank to prepare for a sale mustered about 4 percent of investor votes.

Shareholders also approved the reappointment of four members of Unocal's 10-member board for a three-year term

Shares in Unocal have lost about 24 percent over the past year and the company's earnings fell by almost half in 2002. But Unocal has forecast earnings that will more than double this year, boosted in part by new oil production from a field in Indonesia.

"Nobody at Unocal is happy about our performance in 2002," Williamson told investors.

About 150 shareholders attended the Unocal meeting, which was held in a Unocal auditorium, while about 50 protesters, demonstrated against the companies role overseas outside. Human rights groups charge that the Myanmar military used forced labor in constructing the pipeline that connects an offshore gas field to Thailand. Unocal executives defended the company's involvement in Myanmar, saying its investment there in partnership with Thailand's PTT and France's Total has spurred construction of roads and improved schools and hospitals.