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Friday, June 15, 2012

Slim Buys Stake In Nationalized YPF


June 15, 2012 1:04 am

Slim buys stake in nationalised YPF

The family of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim has bought an 8.4 per cent stake in newly nationalised Argentine oil company YPF, which last week said it was hunting for strategic partners.
The purchase of the class D shares was announced via a US stock market filing.

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No one at the company or representing Mr Slim was available for comment.
It was unclear whether his family, which made the purchase via two companies he controls – Inmobiliaria Carso and Grupo Financiero Inbursa – bought the shares on the open market or whether they used to belong to the Eskenazi family, former partner to Spain’s Repsol in YPF.
Inmobiliaria Carso and Grupo Financiero Inbursa took 1.8 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively.
Miguel Galuccio, YPF’s new chief executive, said Mr Slim’s decision to invest in the company, which he called a “long-term purchase”, was “a clear signal to the international financial market that they see YPF as a solid company with good growth potential”.
He also described Mr Slim as someone who “understands and is a protagonist of the international oil market. This is also a great display of confidence in Argentina and the company’s new project”.
The Eskenazis lost their 25.46 per cent stake after defaulting on loans used to buy it.
Argentina nationalised 51 per cent of YPF last month, slashing Repsol’s holding to 6.43 per cent. It has since boosted that to 12 per cent after taking back shares pledged as collateral against loans made to the Eskenazi family’s Petersen Energía and retained one seat on the company’s new board.
A syndicate of banks headed by Credit Suisse made other loans to the Eskenazis and has taken over shares pledged against those loans, which Petersen Energía had been paying off via dividends, a revenue source that dried up in the nationalisation.
YPF’s American Depository Shares in New York closed up 8.13 per cent at $11.3. In Buenos Aires, YPF ended 2.71 per cent up at 68.3 pesos.
The news of a major international partner is a coup for the Argentine government, which has been at pains to stress that investors have not been put off by the nationalisation. Mr Galuccio announced last week that the company planned to invest $7bn a year for the next five years to boost flagging production. He said he was hunting for strategic partners, be they financial or technical or from the industry, as YPF faces the challenge of developing vast shale oil and gas reserves.
However the emergence of Mr Slim, the world’s richest man who owns one of the world’s biggest mobile phone companies in América Móvil, on the shareholder rolls comes as a surprise. Although he had been planning investments of $1bn in Argentina in 2012, they had been expected to be in the telecoms sector.
“I think this is a very positive sign. YPF will have a very powerful man behind the company as a big shareholder. This is a sign that he is buying for the long term,” said one analyst in New York who asked not to be named.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012. You may share using our article tools.