* Pampa buys four power distributors from AEI
* Deal involves purchase of Ciesa debt, cements TGS ties
BUENOS AIRES, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Argentine energy group Pampa Energia has bought four local power suppliers and debt issued by Ciesa, which controls natural gas distributor TGS, from Ashmore Energy International (AEI) for $276 million.
The deal, reported by Pampa PAM.BA on Wednesday in a statement to Buenos Aires Stock Exchange, could give Pampa a foothold in gas distributor TGS TGS2.BA(TGS.N), local media reported.
As well as the purchase of the electricity companies for a total of $140 million, Pampa bought debt that AEI had purchased in Ciesa for $136 million. Ciesa has a 51 percent controlling stake in TGS, or Transportadora de Gas del Sur.
“The news is more significant for TGS than it is for Pampa Energia, and I’m sure we’ll see that reflected in the market tomorrow,” said Marcelo Trovato, an analyst at Buenos Aires-based brokerage Pronostico Bursatil.
“For Pampa, it’s good news in the long term because it demonstrates its plan to expand as much as possible in the sector,” he added.
Pampa shares in Buenos Aires closed stable at 2.82 pesos per share, while TGS stock closed with a gain of 2.8 percent at 4.77 pesos per share.
Pampa Energia is the third most heavily weighted stock on Argentina's benchmark MerVal .MERV share index. It already controls electricity company Edenor (EDN.BA) and power transmission firm Transener TRA.BA. (Reporting by Helen Popper and Magdalena Morales; Editing by Gary Hill) (firstname.lastname@example.org; +54 11 4318 0655; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))