MADRID Feb 25 Spanish oil major Repsol's
board was gathering in Madrid on Tuesday to approve a
definitive $5 billion settlement from Argentina over assets
seized in 2012, drawing a line under a two-year battle for
Though the compensation is half of what Repsol was initially
demanding after Argentina expropriated its majority stake in
energy firm YPF, the company is eager to end a rocky
chapter in its history and avoid a drawn-out legal fight.
A source involved in the talks told Reuters last week that
Argentina had offered dollar-denominated Argentine bonds with a
face value above the agreed $5 billion compensation to account
for the discount attached to government bonds since the country
defaulted on international debt in 2002.
The Argentine government has also agreed to issue additional
bonds to compensate Repsol if the market price of the bonds
falls below the agreed compensation, the source added.
Representatives of Repsol's largest shareholders - lender La
Caixa, builder Sacyr, Mexican state-owned
oil company Pemex and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings
Pvt Ltd - are all expected to back the deal.
Following boardroom approval, shareholders will be asked to
give the green light at an annual general meeting in March or
April. The deal also needs approval from the Argentine Congress,
which could come in May.
"We see possible settlement with YPF as strongly positive
for (Repsol's) ratios and valuation, but part one of a
multi-step process which provides cash to fund M&A," said RBC
Capital Markets analyst Peter Hutton.
Repsol is in the middle of a four-year plan to boost its
international exploration and production business to compensate
for the loss of YPF, which had accounted for over half of its
It has said it could sell its 30 percent stake in Spanish
power firm Gas Natural Fenosa to help fund a purchase
in North America.