The board of Spanish oil firm Cepsa will meet on October 30 to consider a controversial bid by bank Santander Central Hispano (SCH) to increase its stake to 36 per cent from 20 per cent.

The meeting will focus on the bid which has irked Cepsa's largest stakeholder, France's Total, which controls 45.3 per cent of Spain's second largest oil firm.

Total says the 28 euros-per-share offer violates a shareholder pact and has taken legal action to contest SCH's stance.

SCH, Spain's biggest bank, says the shareholders' agreement has been made invalid by changes in Spanish law.

"The extraordinary board meeting is on Thursday 30 (October). The subject of the bid will be discussed," a spokesman for Cepsa said.

Analysts say SCH's aim is to secure a sizeable holding as a financial investment and then sell it on. That would force Total's hand if it wishes to retain control of Cepsa.

Total controls eight of Cepsa's 19-board members, including Chairman Carlos Perez de Bricio.

Two board members representing the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), a Saudi company which owns 9.5 per cent of Cepsa, are considered to hold the key to a vote over SCH's offer.