Through the Wire

YPF Oil Company Jumps on Report Argentina Seeks Control

April 12, 2012
| Energy
| The Americas

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- YPF SA, Argentina’s largest oil company, rose as much as 11 percent after newspaper Clarin said the government will propose taking a stake of as much as 50.01 percent, citing a copy of the bill it said was sent to Congress.

YPF soared 11 percent to $23.38 at 2:27 p.m. in New York. Argentina newspapers Pagina 12 and El Cronista have reported since January that the government planned to nationalize YPF.

“It may be a bet that the state intervention in the company isn’t as significant as it has been talked about in the press recently,” Christian Reos, an analyst at brokerage Allaria Ledesma & Cia., said in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires. “There is too much volatility.”

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s proposal would declare that as much as 50.01 percent of YPF’s shares are in the “public interest,” Buenos Aires-based Clarin said. Fernandez allies control a majority in both houses of congress.

Officials at Congress said they haven’t received a copy of Fernandez’s legislation.

The proposal would allow Argentina to buy the full 100 million shares owned by the Eskenazi family’s Petersen Group and another 96.6 million from controlling shareholder Repsol YPF SA, Clarin said.

YPF has 393.3 million shares outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Madrid-based Repsol owns 57 percent of YPF.

Argentina sold most of YPF, which had been owned by the state, to private investors in the early 1990s. The government retained a 0.2 percent stake and a so-called golden-share that entitles it to make certain decisions, including veto takeovers.

--With assistance from Camila Russo in Buenos Aires. Editors: Bill Faries, Robin Saponar

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