Trading of YPF halted in New York, Fitch lowers ratings

17 April 2012 23:27  [Source: ICIS news]

YPFHOUSTON (ICIS)--NYSE Euronext halted trading on Tuesday of YPF depository receipts following the Argentine government's attempt to take control of the company.

Shares of YPF had fallen to $19.50 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) before trading was halted. YPF is down substantially from its 52-week high of $46.60.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings downgraded YPF to a B from a B+, and lowered the company's ratings outlook to negative from stable.

Fitch lowered its ratings the same day that Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, said the country had seized control of YPF.

Argentina has since replaced YPF chief executive Sebastian Eskenazi with planning minister Julio De Vido.

Kirchner added that a bill would be presented to the country’s congress to allow the government to take over 51% of YPF shares, owned by Repsol.

Fitch said that government ownership would likely make YPF more inefficient and less profitable.

Earlier, shares plummeted in Madrid for YPF's parent company, Spain-based energy producer Repsol YPF.

Repsol YPF said it plans to take full legal action against Argentina over the measure, which it described “to be manifestly unlawful and gravely discriminatory”.

Additional reporting by Franco Capaldo and Leela Landress

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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