Argentina may buy a stake in YPF SA (YPF:US), the nation’s largest energy company, and give provincial officials a seat on the board after disputes about oil investment and production, a governor said.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner may announce the acquisition tomorrow after meeting with governors of oil-producing provinces, Jorge Sapag, governor of Neuquen, said in a statement posted on the provincial website today. “The national government will probably want to manage” the Buenos Aires-based company, Sapag said.
Six provinces have announced the withdrawal of 12 YPF licenses to drill and produce oil since March 13. Fernandez’s administration has put pressure on the company to increase investment and production to curb Argentina’s fuel imports, which doubled to $9.4 billion in 2011. The lost licenses represent about 5 percent of YPF’s crude output, according to the Argentine government.
YPF is controlled by Repsol YPF SA (REP), Spain’s largest energy company, with a 57 percent stake. Argentina’s Eskenazi family owns a 25 percent stake and operates the company. YPF declined to comment.
Alfredo Scoccimarro, a spokesman for Fernandez, didn’t immediately return a message left at his office seeking comment.
YPF fell 5 percent to 114.5 pesos at the close in Buenos Aires, the lowest price since June 2009. The shares have declined 23 percent during the last seven trading days, compared with a 5.8 percent decline in the benchmark Merval index.
News of the Argentine government’s plan to buy a stake in YPF was reported earlier today by El Cronista. The Buenos Aires- based newspaper didn’t say where it got the information.
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