Credit Suisse Group AG, BNP Paribas SA and two other banks may take over a stake in YPF SA, Argentina’s largest oil company, after shareholder Petersen Energia SA defaulted on a loan.
The company owned by Argentina’s Eskenazi family was due to make the payment of about $400 million yesterday, a Petersen official who cannot be named under corporate policy, said today in a telephone interview. The lenders, which also include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Banco Itau BBA SA, haven’t claimed the stake given as collateral, the official said.
The Eskenazis counted on YPF dividends of as much as 90 percent of profit to meet the obligations before the Argentine government opposed the payments to shareholders last year and seized control of the oil producer last month. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner ordered the takeover on April 16, seizing a 51 percent stake from Spain’s Repsol YPF SA.
YPF fell 1.6 percent to $12.97 in New York trading, after plummeting as much as 8.4 percent earlier. Before today, it slumped 63 percent this year.
The default entitles the banks to a 22 percent stake in YPF, according to an April 17 Exane BNP Paribas report. The other 3 percent of YPF shares held by Petersen would go to Repsol if it defaults, Exane said. Petersen borrowed $1.7 billion from the Spanish company to buy YPF shares in 2008 and 2011 and about $1 billion from the four banks.
Credit Suisse sent Petersen a letter on May 11 on behalf of the four banks, warning the company that missing the payment would entitle the lenders to take over the stake, the Petersen official said.
David Walker, a Credit Suisse spokesman, declined to comment on the letter and the default. Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, also declined to comment.
The banks would have to hold on to the shares following a Petersen default because there is no demand for them, Rafael Aldazabal, president of Buenos Aires-based brokerage Aldazabal & Cia., said.
“There isn’t a market to sell these shares,” Aldazabal said in a telephone interview today. “Not in New York or Buenos Aires.”
The Petersen payment due yesterday was the last installment of the loan from the four banks. Credit Suisse lent $601 million, BNP $175 million, Itau $150 million and Goldman Sachs $100 million, according to regulatory filings.
Petersen owes another $626 million to a group of banks for the acquisition of 10 percent in YPF in 2011, according to the filings. The banks are Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, Itau, Standard Bank Group Ltd and Citigroup Inc.
Fernandez named Planning Minister Julio De Vido and Deputy Economy Minister Axel Kicillof to oversee YPF management until the shareholders name a new board. Fernandez also named Miguel Galuccio as YPF general manager.
The government has accused Repsol of underinvesting in Argentina since its acquisition of YPF, which produces about 35 percent of the country’s crude. Repsol denied underinvesting and on May 15 started legal action against Argentina and notified officials of the South American country that it intends to file a claim with the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington.