Repsol agrees to sell stake in YPF for 500 million dollars

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Spain's biggest oil company, Repsol, said Thursday it has agreed to sell 3.3 percent of its Argentine unit YPF SA to two US investment funds for 500 million dollars (381.5 million euros).

Repsol will sell a 1.63 percent stake in YPF to Capital International for 250 million euros and an identical stake at the same price to Eton Park, the company said in a statement.

"This transaction is part of Repsol's strategic plan to rebalance its portfolio of assets," it said.

After these transactions Repsol will hold 79.84 percent of YPF, Argentine group Petersen will have 15.46 percent, the two US investment funds 3.3 percent and the remaining 4.69 percent floated on the stock market.

In addition Eton Park has the option of buying a further 1.63 percent of YPF that is exercisable until January 2012.

In April Repsol chief executive officer Antonio Brufau said the company wants to reduce its stake in YPF "as soon as possible" and last month the company announced it planned to sell shares representing as much as 15 percent of its Argentine unit on the stock market.

Repsol took over the Argentinean company in 1999 but it is now seeking to cut its stake to up to 51 percent to raise funds to invest in promising prospects located off the coast of Brazil.

YPF produces and processes about half of Argentina's oil and controls about as much of the domestic fuel market. It is the Latin American country's biggest company by market value as well as one of its largest employers.

© 2010 AFP

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