Repsol YPF to sell major stake in Argentine unit

6th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

6 June 2007, BUENOS AIRES- One of this country's richest men and two well-connected bankers are the leading candidates to acquire a 25 percent stake in Spanish energy company Repsol YPF's Argentine unit, Buenos Aires's leading dailies reported.

6 June 2007

BUENOS AIRES- One of this country's richest men and two well-connected bankers are the leading candidates to acquire a 25 percent stake in Spanish energy company Repsol YPF's Argentine unit, Buenos Aires's leading dailies reported.

Businessman Eduardo Eurnekian and bankers Jorge Brito and Enrique Eskenazi are candidates to purchase 25 percent of YPF, the Argentine subsidiary of Repsol YPF.

The "most likely" buyer of the stake that Repsol YPF plans to sell is Enrique Eskenazi, whose Petersen group controls the Santa Cruz, San Juan and Santa Fe banks, the La Nacion newspaper said.

Both La Nacion and the daily Clarin noted the relationship between Eskenazi and President Nestor Kirchner, which dates back 12 years to when the current head of state was governor of the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz.

Petersen's construction division "has been very active in Patagonia in recent years," La Nacion said, while Clarin noted that Eskenazi "was already a regular associate" of Kirchner when the latter was governor of the southern province.

The two newspapers also agreed that the Kirchner administration closely monitors the plans of Repsol YPF, which notified Spanish stock market regulators on Monday that it might sell up to 45 percent of YPF: 25 percent to an Argentine investor and the remaining 20 percent in a new share issue.

YPF was Argentina's state oil company until the 1990s, when the firm was privatized under then-President Carlos Menem.

Another candidate to buy the 25 percent stake in YPF is magnate Eduardo Eurnekian, who controls Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, which holds the concession to manage the capital's Ezeiza International Airport and dozens of other terminals.

Eurnekian "started out as a textile entrepreneur and later put together the Cablevision company," which he sold in 1994 for $750 million, "making himself one of the richest men in the country," Clarin said.

Jorge Brito, the third candidate to buy the YPF stake, has headed the Argentine Banking Association, which is made up of domestically owned private banks, for four years. EFE

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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