UPDATE 1-Repsol says not in talks with Argentina on YPF stake

Fri Mar 8, 2013 2:01pm EST

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MADRID, March 8 (Reuters) - Repsol said on Friday it was not in negotiations with the Argentine government over compensation for the country's expropriation of the Spanish oil major's 51 percent stake in YPF last year.

"Repsol's board of directors denies the existence of any negotiation or any kind of offer," it said in a statement to Spain's stock market regulator.

Reuters reported this week that Repsol shareholder Caixabank had held talks with the government to broker a compensation deal.

Repsol said on Friday it could not rule out unofficial contact between other parties, but had not been part of any discussions.

The firm reiterated that it was willing to work with Argentina to reach a solution and wanted full compensation for its stake.

The company has filed a complaint against Argentina and the World Bank's arbitration body, the ICSID, began the process in December.

"Repsol continues to calmly trust in the justice of the legal channels it has opened," it said in the statement.

The company spent most of 2012 recovering from the loss of its Argentine unit but beat forecasts for its fourth quarter profit for a positive close to the year.

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez said at the time of the expropriation that Repsol had not invested enough in the country, letting local production decline.

(Reporting by Clare Kane; editing by Jesus Aguado and Jason Neely)

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