Mexico's Carlos Slim Obtained YPF Stake as Loan Collateral
06/15/2012| 02:25pm US/Eastern
--Slim obtained shares as collateral for defaulted loan
--Slim spokesman says tycoon doesn't plan near-term sale of YPF shares
--YPF shares well off intraday highs
(Updates with comments by Slim spokesman)
By Ken Parks and Anthony Harrup
BUENOS AIRES--Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has obtained an 8.4% stake in Argentina's largest oil company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) as collateral for a defaulted loan, a spokesman for Mr. Slim said.
Arturo Elias Ayub told Dow Jones Newswires the shares were collateral for a more-than-four-year-old syndicated bank loan in which Mr. Slim's banking firm Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB (GPFOY, GFINBUR.MX) participated. Mr. Elias Ayub declined to identify the debtor.
"The idea for the moment is to keep the shares. We're not thinking of selling them in the short term, and in the medium and long term we'll analyze our options," he said. "We see [YPF] as a solid company, with great potential, and we're going to hold our position."
In a YPF filing to the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange on Thursday, Inbursa named Petersen Energia SA and Petersen Inversora as the counter parties to the transactions that saw Mr. Slim end up with 32.9 million of YPF's Class D shares.
Inbursa said it obtained 25.9 million of those shares for $11.12 each, or $288.1 million.
Petersen Energia and Petersen Inversora are controlled by Argentina's Eskenazi family.
The Eskenazis through Grupo Petersen borrowed heavily to acquire a 25.46% stake in YPF.
In 2008, Grupo Petersen financed the purchase of 14.9% of YPF from Spain's Repsol SA (>> Repsol YPF SA) with a $1 billion senior secured loan from a group of banks led by Credit Suisse.
The group also obtained a $1 billion loan and equity from Repsol.
In 2011, the group purchased an additional 10% stake in YPF, funding the deal with a $700 million senior secured loan from a group of banks led by Banco Itau and Credit Suisse. Repsol pitched in with another loan of about $625 million.
The Eskenazis were counting on hefty dividends from YPF to pay back those loans.
However, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner seized a 51% stake in YPF from Repsol last month and abolished its dividends.
Kirchner accused Repsol of failing to invest enough in YPF, which has suffered from years of declining output.
Grupo Petersen missed a $400 million loan payment in May, which prompted creditors to demand immediate repayment of its debts.
YPF's shares traded in New York were recently 10.4% higher at $11.53. They earlier hit an intraday high of $12.60.
Write to Ken Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org