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Back in April President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government seized 51 percent of YPF, the largest oil producer in Argentina, from Repsol in an attempt to halt declining oil output and stem fuel imports that doubled to $9.4 billion last year. The Argentines believed that Repsol had not invested enough to develop the potentially huge shale reserves.
Before the government took control of YPF it was controlled by the Eskenazi family, who regularly used YPF dividends to keep up with the payments of a $1 billion loan which used YPF shares as collateral. After the seizure the government banned YPF dividends which led to the Eskanzi’s defaulting on their loan, and transferring their YPF shares to the creditors.
One of these banks was Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB, which is owned by the world’s richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Carlos Slim.
Slim now controls 32.9 million of YPF’s shares, giving him an 8.4 percent stake of YPF, worth $345 million. Arturo Elias, a spokesman for Carlos Slim announced that they “view it (YPF) as a solid company with good growth potential,“ and that all that remains is for Slim to analyse whether or not he wants to retain the stake.
Miguel Galuccio, the CEO of YPF, said that “the The incorporation of the Mexican businessman in the shareholding ranks of the company is a clear signal to the international financial market. It’s a great show of confidence in Argentina and the company’s new initiative.”
Laurence Balter, who oversees $100 million for Fox Island, Washington-based Oracle Investment Research, believes that Slim has struck lucky with his new shares because “YPF is worth much more than it is priced today. “
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…