Repsol sells remaining stake in Argentina’s YPF

Spanish energy giant Repsol said on Wednesday it has sold most of its remaining 12-percent stake in former Argentine subsidiary YPF for $1.26 billion (€900 million), two years after control of the unit was seized by Buenos Aires.

Repsol sells remaining stake in Argentina's YPF
Photo: Travelling artist/Flickr

The sale marks one of the closing chapters of an international wrangle sparked in April 2012 when Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner ordered the nationalization of Repsol's YPF.

Repsol said in a statement Wednesday that it had sold the 11.86 percent stake in YPF for $1.26 billion, equal to $26.91 per share, to Morgan Stanley, generating a pre-tax profit of $622 million.

Following the sale, Repsol was left with less than 0.5 percent of YPF, it said.

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Repsol owned 51 percent in YPF before the seizure by Buenos Aires, a move that forced it to make provisions of €1.28 billion in 2013 and sent its profits for that year plunging by 90 percent.

Repsol shareholders agreed in March this year to a deal in which Buenos Aires would pay $5 billion compensation for the financial hit.

On April 24th, the Argentine lower house of parliament approved payment of the settlement in the form of government bonds.

Settlement of the dispute could help YPF to lure investment to the vast Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in Argentina, which it discovered in 2010.

The find is estimated to contain the equivalent of 22.8 billion barrels of oil, described by Repsol at the time as the largest discovery in its history.

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One dead, one missing as Spanish fishing boat sinks near Argentina

One person has died and another is missing after a Spanish fishing vessel sank off Argentina on Wednesday (July 11), but 25 crew members have been rescued, the Argentine Navy said.

One dead, one missing as Spanish fishing boat sinks near Argentina
Photos: Handout pictures released by the Argentine Navy shows Spanish fishing vessel "Dorneda"

The crew of the Dornera were found at dawn in two rafts and a small boat, 308 nautical miles off Argentina's Patagonian coast, the Navy said in a statement.

Most of the crew are Spanish but there are also Moroccans, Peruvians and Indonesians amongst them, spokesman Enrique Balbi said.

The 25 survivors and dead sailor are aboard an Argentine fishing boat heading back to dry land and expected to arrive in Patagonia in around two days, Balbi told AFP.

To reach there, the Argentine boat must negotiate 570 kilometres of open water through a South Atlantic storm in the middle of winter, said Balbi.

The Dornera is believed to have capsized after being inundated by “a lot of water down the stern ramp where the fish nets are pulled up,” according to Balbi.

“The water entered the engine room and caused a power cut,” he said. “That made the boat uncontrollable in a storm.”

“Realizing a shipwreck was inevitable, the crew abandoned ship.” Balbi added: “At this time of year, adverse conditions created by low pressure generate a lot of wind and big waves. This can happen to any boat when there are big waves.”

Spain picked up a distress beacon and alerted the Argentine Navy, which sent out two fishing vessels to locate the sailors.

Balbi said the boat, owned by Spanish seafood company Freiremar, was fishing in international waters but that “it's still our search and rescue area”.

Two aircraft have been sent to Patagonia to help in the search and rescue operation for the missing sailor.