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Mason Said to More Than Double YPF Stake on Growth Bet

Mason Capital Management LLC has more than doubled its stake in YPF SA since September, betting the nationalized energy company can increase production and profit, according to three people with knowledge of the transactions.

Mason exceeded a 3 percent ownership threshold that requires it to advise YPF under the Buenos Aires-based company’s statutes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the transactions haven’t been made public. In the second quarter, Mason acquired 5.54 million YPF shares, or 1.39 percent, after Argentina seized control of the company from Spain’s Repsol SA, according to its latest 13F filing.

YPF has lost investors 70 percent this year, making it the worst performer among peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s also the cheapest, trading at 3.52 times estimated 2012 profit. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner expropriated YPF in April, accusing Madrid-based Repsol of underinvesting. YPF’s market value is $4.1 billion.

YPF spokesman Alejandro Di Lazzaro declined to comment in an e-mailed response. Mason Chief Financial Officer John Grizzetti didn’t reply to calls or an e-mail seeking comment.

Mason began adding to its position after executives met with YPF Chief Executive Officer Miguel Galuccio late September in Buenos Aires, two of the people said.

Grupo Financiero Inbursa is YPF’s largest institutional shareholder with 6.59 percent, followed by Lazard Asset Management LLC with 3.12 percent, the data show.

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