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YPF Plunges on Government Takeover Concern: Buenos Aires Mover

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YPF Plunges on Government Takeover Concern
Chimneys and aerial structures stand at the Repsol YPF SA oil refinery in Tarragona, Spain. YPF SA fell the most in 20 months after newspaper Pagina/12 said Argentine officials discussed a takeover of the country’s biggest oil producer, without saying where it obtained the information. Photographer: Denis Doyle/Bloomberg

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- YPF SA tumbled the most in five months after newspaper Pagina/12 said Argentine officials discussed a takeover of the country’s biggest oil producer, without saying where it obtained the information.

YPF’s American depositary receipts fell 10 percent to $35.86, the biggest one-day decline since Aug. 8, after earlier dropping as much as 14 percent. Trading volume surged eightfold to 4 million from this year’s average. The stock has tumbled 26 percent over the past year.

Argentine government officials, lawmakers and oil industry specialists discussed re-nationalizing the company that was bought by Repsol YPF SA in 1999, Pagina/12 reported yesterday.

“The relationship between YPF and the government has been a bit more strained in the last few days,” Christian Reos, an analyst at brokerage firm Allaria Ledesma & Cia. Soc. de Bolsa, said by telephone today from Buenos Aires. The article “is a way to pressure the company to invest more.”

A YPF official, who asked not to be identified because of corporate policy, declined to comment in an e-mail today. An official at the Planning Ministry wasn’t immediately available.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is pushing Buenos Aires-based YPF and other oil companies to boost investments in Argentina after saying they are to blame for a doubling of fuel imports to $9.4 billion in 2011 from a year earlier.

Fernandez’s government also is probing alleged fuel-price fixing by YPF, Petrobras Argentina SA and other producers following a complaint from the country’s transport association. YPF on Jan. 18 denied it colluded with other companies to fix gasoline prices. Late last year Fernandez ordered oil companies to repatriate future export revenue.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Price in Buenos Aires at lprice3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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