Credit Suisse AG (CSGN) and five other banks will take over 19 percent of Argentine oil producer YPF SA (YPF:US) after the Petersen Group defaulted on a $1 billion loan that used the stake for collateral.
The group of lenders, which includes Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS:US) and BNP Paribas SA (BNP), has met with government officials to discuss the stake seizure, a Petersen official, who can’t be named under corporate policy, said in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires today. Petersen won’t send representatives to a YPF shareholders’ meeting (YPF:US) on June 4 after missing a $400 million payment to the banks last month, the official said.
Petersen, owned by Argentina’s billionaire Eskenazi family, was using YPF dividends (YPF:US) of as much as 90 percent of profit to meet obligations before the government opposed the payments to shareholders last year and seized control of the oil producer this year. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner ordered the takeover on April 16, seizing a 51 percent stake from Spain’s Repsol YPF SA. (REP)
Taking over the shares owned by Petersen entitles the banks to participate in the June 4 meeting where shareholders will vote on a new board. The Eskenazis operated the company before Fernandez appointed Planning Minister Julio De Vido and Deputy Economy Minister Axel Kicillof to oversee management. On May 4, she named Miguel Galuccio, a former executive at Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB:US), as general manager.
David Walker, a Credit Suisse spokesman in New York, declined to comment in an e-mailed response to questions.
Credit Suisse sent Petersen a warning about the group of banks’ right to take the stake last month after the Argentine company missed a payment due May 15, according to a YPF filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission two days later.
Petersen borrowed $601 million from Credit Suisse, $175 million from BNP, $150 million from Itau BBA and $100 million from Goldman Sachs in 2008 to purchase a 15 percent stake in YPF, according to regulatory filings. It took a second loan in 2011 from Credit Suisse, Itau, Citigroup Inc. (C:US), BNP and Standard Bank (SBK) Group Ltd. to help finance the purchase of another 10 percent in YPF.
Repsol, which also loaned Petersen funds on both occasions, said yesterday it has notified Petersen it will take control of 6 percent of YPF given as a guarantee following the default. That would bring Repsol’s current holdings to 12 percent.
YPF’s American depositary receipts fell 1.2 percent to close at $12.64 in New York. Before today, they declined 63 percent this year.
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