Argentina’s YPF Sued by U.S. Investor Over Share Offering

YPF SA, the crude-oil producer that was seized by the Argentine government last year, was sued by an investor who accused the company of making false statements before its March 2011 public offering.

The company, its directors and the offering’s underwriters made misleading and untrue statements in a prospectus and in documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a complaint filed yesterday by Michigan’s Monroe County Employees Retirement System in federal court in Manhattan. The underwriters include Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG.

The registration didn’t disclose that the company faced a risk of nationalization by the Argentine government, which had increased because of the failure to “adequately produce oil and gas within Argentina” and reinvest a “substantial portion” of profits into operations, according to the complaint.

The Michigan pension fund also said YPF failed to disclose that it was in breach of its concession contracts with provinces in Argentina and that nationalization “would likely have a severe adverse effect on shareholders and ‘‘on the company’s market value.’’

Argentina Seizure

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s administration seized YPF, the country’s biggest producer of crude, in April from Madrid-based Repsol SA, which was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Pablo Dorfman, a spokesman for YPF, declined to comment in an e-mailed response to questions, saying the company hadn’t been officially notified of the suit.

Mary Claire Delaney, a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Credit Suisse spokesman Drew Benson didn’t immediately comment on the complaint.

Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail yesterday seeking comment on the lawsuit. Begona Elices Garcia, a Repsol spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond yesterday after regular business hours to an e-mail seeking comment.

The case is Monroe County Employees Retirement System, 13-cv-0842, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).