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Exxon pulls out of South Africa

NEW YORK -- Exxon Corp., the world's largest oil company, said today it is pulling out of South Africa by selling its two subsidiaries there to a trust that will be controlled by local management.

An Exxon spokeswoman said the company operated two small companies in South Africa that marketed petroleum and chemical products, employing about 200 people, of whom half are non-white and about 60 are black.

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She said Exxon has no oil refining or chemical manufacturing operations in the country. While Exxon does not release the incomes of its component operations, the spokeswoman said the two companies accounted for less than 0.2 percent of the giant company's 1985 consolidated income.

Exxon becomes the 87th U.S. firm to announce plans to leave South Africa in the past two years, according to the Investor Responsibility Research Center, a Washington organization that keeps track of U.S. businesses in South Africa.

The center said Exxon has 216 employees in South Africa -- the smallest force of any U.S. oil company there.

The companies that have pulled out or announced plans to do so include General Motors Monday, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble Co., Kodak, Revlon, the Carnation Co., General Electric, Bell & Howell, Phillips Petroleum, GTE, CBS, American Airlines and Martin Marietta.

'This decision was reached after thorough consideration of the interests of our employees in South Africa and the corporation's shareholders,' said Exxon President Lawrence G. Rawls.

'The deterioration of the South African economic and business climate caused by the continuing internal and external constraints has affected our business and its potential for growth,' he said. 'In view of the fact that we were not able to sell our operations, we did not want to shut them down and abandon our employees.'

The oil company decided to use a trust arrangement after failing to arrive at an agreement to sell the South African subsidiaries to local interests.

The Exxon spokeswoman said the company will relinquish all control over its former South African affiliates, which will stop using thhe Exxon and Esso names 'within a few months.'

After a transitional period, none of the trustees will be Exxon employees or under contract to Exxon, she said.

Exxon becomes the 87th U.S. firm to announce plans to leave South Africa in the past two years, according to the Investor Responsibility Research Center, a Washington organization that keeps track of U.S. businesses in South Africa.

The center said Exxon has 216 employees in South Africa -- the smallest force of any U.S. oil company there.

The companies that have pulled out or announced plans to do so include General Motors Monday, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble Co., Kodak, Revlon, the Carnation Co., General Electric, Bell & Howell, Phillips Petroleum, GTE, CBS, American Airlines and Martin Marietta.

'This decision was reached after thorough consideration of the interests of our employees in South Africa and the corporation's shareholders,' said Exxon President Lawrence G. Rawls.

'The deterioration of the South African economic and business climate caused by the continuing internal and external constraints has affected our business and its potential for growth,' he said. 'In view of the fact that we were not able to sell our operations, we did not want to shut them down and abandon our employees.'

The oil company decided to use a trust arrangement after failing to arrive at an agreement to sell the South African subsidiaries to local interests.

The Exxon spokeswoman said the company will relinquish all control over its former South African affiliates, which will stop using thhe Exxon and Esso names 'within a few months.'

After a transitional period, none of the trustees will be Exxon employees or under contract to Exxon, she said.

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