Saturday, May 5, 2012

Argentine president signs YPF nationalization into law

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed YPF takeover law.

Source: Press TV

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has signed into law the takeover of the country's largest energy firm, YPF, from its Spanish controlling shareholder.

During a televised speech from Government House, Kirchner signed the nationalization law, on Friday, that expropriates a 51-percent stake from Spain’s Repsol.

“This is a special day: one I never thought would live as President. A few moments ago I signed the enacting of the law, which was approved by a very ample margin at Congress. I want to thank opposition lawmakers who supported this project which aims to recover our oil,” Kirchner said.

On Thursday, Argentinean lawmakers voted 207-32 in favor of the nationalization bill, which had been cleared a week earlier in the country’s Senate.

Meanwhile, Kirchner introduced Miguel Galuccio, former head of global oilfield services Schlumberger Ltd, to lead the expropriated energy firm.

"The idea is to have a YPF that is absolutely modern, competitive, with professional people but with a political orientation aimed at achieving energy self-sufficiency once again to sustain growth, employment and economic activity," she added.

YPF was privatized in the early 1990s and the Spanish energy giant, Repsol, acquired a majority of the company’s stake in 1999.

Argentine government accused Repsol of failing to invest enough in the country’s energy and taking profits out of the Latin American state in the form of dividends.

Repsol denied the accusations, pledging to fight the takeover, claiming it has invested billions over the years.

Buenos Aires’ move has infuriated the European Union and the Spanish government, prompting Madrid to warn that the takeover would affect the future of diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries.

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