Petrobras Argentina Gains on Speculation of YPF Bid

Petrobras Argentina SA, a unit of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, headed for the biggest weekly gain among global peers on speculation that the company or its assets will be acquired by state-owned YPF SA.

The shares gained 4.1 percent to 3.33 pesos at 3:32 p.m. in Buenos Aires and earlier reached 3.4 pesos, the highest intraday price since April 24. YPF rose the most in three weeks.

Petrobras Argentina extended a gain this week to 11 percent after La Nacion reported that YPF, Bridas Corp., Tecpetrol SA and Pluspetrol SA may submit bids today. The Buenos Aires-based newspaper cited company executives involved in the talks without identifying them. Parent company Petroleo Brasileiro SA announced in June it’s seeking to raise as much as $14.8 billion through asset sales and restructuring to fund deep-water oil discoveries in Brazil.

“The stock is rising on speculation of the offers and that money raised may be distributed as dividends,” Juan Jose Vasquez, an analyst at Bull Market Brokers said by telephone Buenos Aires.

YPF jumped as much as 9.8 percent to 93 pesos, the highest level since April when the company was expropriated from Spain’s Repsol SA. The stock has gained as much as 10 percent in the two days since a company official said YPF would bid for Petrobras assets if they go on sale.

Stars Aligning

“The stars are aligning for YPF, as the company’s success is key to the Argentine government,” Fernando Pertini, Chief Executive Officer of Millenia Asset Management International, said by telephone from Panama City. “YPF is having a stream of good news, including higher natural gas prices on new findings, successful bonds issuances and talk of potential partnerships.”

Alejandro Di Lazzaro, a YPF spokesman, declined to comment in an e-mail response to questions.

Bridas is controlled by China’s Cnooc Ltd. and the Bulgheroni family. Tecpetrol is a unit of Techint Group. Carolina Sorondo, a Tecpetrol spokeswoman declined to comment when reached by telephone. Stefania Argento, a Techint Group spokeswoman in Milan, didn’t respond to telephone calls and an e-mail seeking comment. Techint’s Tenaris SA unit declined to comment in an e-mailed response.

“Bridas is unaware of an ongoing sale,” said Bulgheroni spokesman Mario Calafel. He declined to comment when asked if Bridas would bid if the assets were for sale.

Pluspetrol spokespeople weren’t available, assistant Cecilia Garcia said from Buenos Aires. Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras declined to comment in an e-mailed response.

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