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Spain, Argentina Form Committee to Resolve YPF Differences

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Spain and Argentina formed a working group to resolve their “differences” over YPF SA, the Argentine oil company majority-owned by Madrid-based Repsol YPF SA, Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said.

“Differences have arisen in recent weeks,” Soria told reporters today in Madrid. “Whatever difference there is we can deal with it through meetings.”

YPF plunged 15 percent in Buenos Aires trading yesterday on reports the government is planning to take it over. The government this month threatened to take “most vigorous measures” against YPF if it fails to meet domestic fuel demand.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is scheduled to address the country’s congress today at 11 a.m. local time.

YPF, which controls two-thirds of Argentina’s gasoline stations, has struggled to import diesel amid difficulty accessing the foreign-exchange market and asked the government to take “urgent measures” to help it maintain supply, the company said this month.

Since her landslide re-election in October, Fernandez’s government has tightened controls on the foreign exchange market, raised restrictions on imports and ordered some companies to bring all their export revenue to the country after capital outflows accelerated to a record high in the third quarter and the trade surplus narrowed.

Repsol, headed by Chairman Antonio Brufau, owns 57 percent of YPF while Petersen Energia SA, controlled by YPF Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Eskenazi’s family, owns 25 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Sills in Madrid at bsills@bloomberg.net; Angeline Benoit in Madrid at abenoit4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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