MADRID May 9 Spanish oil major Repsol
has sold a package of Argentine BONAR24 sovereign bonds to JP
Morgan for $2.8 billion, the company said in a statement on
The bonds were part of a $5 billion settlement with
Argentina after the South American country expropriated Repsol's
51 percent stake in energy firm YPF in 2012.
Repsol is restricted from selling the rest of the bonds it
received from Argentina in the settlement for a period of seven
days, with some exceptions, the statement said.
Repsol has said it would monetize all of the bonds within
two years, but on Thursday Chief Financial Officer Miguel
Martinez said the full sale could come even sooner if there is a
window of opportunity.
If Repsol does not make $5 billion in selling all of the
bonds, due to the market discount, Argentina will supplement the
deal with additional bonds.
Friday's sale of Argentina bonds follows Repsol's disposal
of nearly all its remaining YPF stake on Wednesday and the sale
of liquefied natural gas assets last year.
Repsol has said it could spend $10 billion on purchases to
boost its exploration and production business but has left the
door open to paying a special dividend or buying back its own
stock if it cannot find an attractive acquisition.
How the company ends up deploying capital is one of the main
concerns of investors, who are also watching out for a possible
shareholder shake-up after Repsol's third-biggest shareholder
Pemex of Mexico said it could sell its 9.3 percent stake.
Pemex has had an increasingly confrontational relationship
with Repsol, due largely to disagreements over how the Spanish
oil major handled the loss of YPF in Argentina and the degree of
influence it has allowed its Mexican partner.
It voted against Repsol Executive Chairman Antonio Brufau's
appointment last week of a new chief executive officer, Josu Jon
Imaz. Repsol said on Thursday that one of Imaz's primary duties
will be mending relations with Pemex.
(Reporting by Andres Gonzalez, Jose Elias Rodriguez and Tracy
Rucinski; Editing by Fiona Ortiz)