June 8, 2007 / 8:57 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina sees Repsol's YPF sale agreed in 5 weeks

BUENOS AIRES, June 8 (Reuters) - The Argentine government said Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC) should reach an agreement to sell up to 25 percent of its local energy company YPF in about five weeks, adding that Argentina would not obstruct the deal.

Repsol’s chairman said last month the group was looking for a private local partner to buy a significant stake in YPF YPFd.BA. The company will follow the sale with the listing of about 20 percent of YPF on the Buenos Aires stock exchange.

Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido told reporters Repsol REP.BA was in talks with just one potential buyer.

Asked how long the talks could last, De Vido said: “You should ask them (Repsol), but I think five weeks.”

“The company’s negotiations are subject to government approval ... but I don’t think there will be any problem,” De Vido added.

The Argentine government holds a golden share in YPF.

Repsol YPF officials in Buenos Aires were not available to comment on De Vido’s statements.

Spanish newspaper Expansion and Argentine media have reported the potential buyers as banking magnate Enrique Eskenazi; Jorge Brito, the head of Banco Macro (BMA.BA); and Eduardo Eurnekian, who bought Argentina’s airports when they were privatized.

Expansion said the candidates were all close to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and quoted various sources as saying Eskenazi was the front runner of the three.

Repsol bought YPF for about $15 billion when it was privatized in 1999.

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