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Eskenazi family 'worried' about losing stake in oil business

By Giulia Cambieri

The family behind Argentina’s biggest oil company YPF is “worried”, following media reports that claimed the country’s government is considering taking control of the family business.

The Eskenazi family, which controls 25.46% of the company through the Petersen Group, “is worried about this unusual situation”, a spokesman for YPF told CampdenFB.

“We don’t have any news about the government’s plans. At the moment, there are only rumours and speculations in the media,” he said, adding that “this is not the best situation for the company”.

His comments follow reports in the Argentinian press that the government is looking to take control of the majority of YPF’s shares, in a bid to increase the Buenos Aires-based company’s oil and gas production.

According to local newspaper Clarin, president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wants congress to approve a bill declaring that 50.01% of YPF’s shares are in the “public interest”.

This would allow the government, which currently holds a 0.2% stake in the firm, to acquire all the 100 million shares owned by the Eskenazi family and part of the 57.43% stake held by Spanish energy firm Repsol YPF. The remaining shares are currently trading on the New York and Buenos Aires stock exchanges.

But the spokesman for YPS said this wasn’t the first time such speculations had emerged in the country’s press. “There have been similar rumours at least four or five times in the past two months,” he added.

The Eskenazi family, which is responsible for the company’s day-to-day management, first became involved in YPF in 2007 when Enrique Eskenazi bought a 14.9% stake.

Since then, the family has increased its control of the firm, which in 2011 had revenues of $11.1 billion (€8.5 billion).  

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