Argentina’s YPF Said to Hire Banks for Bond Sale in Francs

  • UBS, Credit Suisse managing offering of at least $150 million
  • Potential deal would open the company to new debt investors

YPF SA, Argentina’s biggest company, has hired UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG to sell the equivalent of at least $150 million of bonds in its first Swiss francs offering, according to two people with knowledge of the plan.

The state-controlled oil company has authorization from its board to sell as much as $500 million of bonds in any currency, said the people, who asked not to be named because the plans aren’t public. The Swiss francs sale is expected to take place as early as next week.

Representatives for Buenos Aires-based YPF, UBS and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Selling bonds in Swiss Francs would open the company to a new debt market, said one of the people. Former Total SA executive Ricardo Darre, who became YPF’s chief executive officer in June, is planning to divest non-core assets and boost holdings in areas like natural gas as part of an effort to focus on projects that pay off quickly.

Proceeds of the offering would support working capital and debt refinancing, said one of the people.

As of June 30, YPF had $8.2 billion in total debt, according to a filing with the local regulator. The ratio of its net debt to Ebitda -- earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- was 1.8 times, according to a filing with the local regulator.

YPF is one of Argentina’s most prolific bond issuers, with more than 30 debt securities currently outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company’s most actively traded bond, $1.5 billion of 8.5 percent notes that mature in 2025, rose to 107.9 cents on the dollar at 3 p.m. in New York, gaining about 20 cents since January, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

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