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Repsol sells $1.3 bn YPF stake, marking Argentina exit

WILL KENNEDY

MADRID, Spain (Bloomberg) -- Repsol SA sold almost all its remaining stake in Argentina’s YPF SA, marking a final break with the company two years after the government seized 51% of the country’s leading oil producer.

Repsol sold 12% of YPF through Morgan Stanley for $1.26 bn, realizing a pretax gain of $622 million, the Madrid-based company said in a statement. Spain’s largest oil company retains a stake of less than 0.5% after the disposal.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner ordered the nationalization of YPF in April 2012, alleging parent company Repsol had failed to invest enough in maintaining oil production. Argentina and the Spanish producer, which had called the seizure illegal, agreed on a $5 bn compensation package earlier this year.

Armed with the cash from Argentina and the proceeds of today’s deal, Repsol plans to spend as much as $10 bn acquiring oil and gas production assets, mainly in developed countries, Executive Chairman Antonio Brufau has said.

Repsol shares, up 7.3% over the past year, advanced 0.4% to 19.39 euros in Madrid trading by 9:11 a.m.

Last week, Repsol appointed Josu Jon Imaz San Miguel as CEO, a post Brufau gave up while continuing to head the board. Imaz, who had been in charge of the refinery division, will pursue growth through acquisitions, the company said when it announced the appointment.

Argentina plans to issue as much as $6 bn in sovereign bonds to meet the compensation payment. The Spanish company has said it intends to monetize the securities within a couple of years.

05/07/2014

 

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