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Argentina takes over YPF from Spanish shareholder

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A flag reading "Fight and Comeback" with the logo of the Argentine oil company YPF is seen at the front of the presidential palace Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, April 12, 2012.

The Argentinean government has seized the country’s biggest oil company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF), ousting the Spanish controlling shareholder, Repsol.

In the first shareholder meeting since the takeover, 16 directors of the company were appointed, with Miguel Galuccio, an Argentine veteran of the country’s oil industry, as the new chief executive and chairman of the company.

In early May, Argentinean lawmakers approved the takeover of YPF and ratified the nationalization bill, giving President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner the green light to expropriate the 51-percent stake from Repsol.

Buenos Aires accused the Spanish company of “draining” YPF and carting off its profits instead of reinvesting them since gaining control in the 1990s.

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

The former Spanish shareholder now owns 12 percent of the YPF, and will have just one seat at the board of directors.

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

Repsol has sued Argentina to recover compensatory damages that could reach more than USD 10 billion.


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