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Argentine lawmakers set to OK YPF takeover draft
BUENOS AIRES |
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine lawmakers took their first step toward nationalizing the country's No. 1 oil company on Wednesday when members of a Senate committee agreed to the broad outlines of a bill to place YPF under state control.
Shares of YPF (YPFD.BA) plummeted 28 percent in afternoon Buenos Aires trade, deepening weeks of heavy losses in the run-up to this week's announcement by President Cristina Fernandez that she would move to take control from Spain's Repsol (REP.MC).
"We're going to be signing (the draft bill) and next Wednesday we'll be going to the full chamber," ruling party Senator Anibal Fernandez told reporters at the upper house.
He added that the government was including the expropriation of a local natural gas company owned by Repsol (REP.MC) in the broader bill to seize a 51 percent controlling stake of YPF.
He said he did not have details about the natural gas company earmarked for nationalization.
An industry source said the company targeted by the government could be Gas Natural Ban or Metrogas, in which Repsol has a stake.
At stock exchanges in Buenos Aires and New York, the YPF selloff started early in the day as investors reacted to statements by a government official who said Argentina would not pay Repsol what it wants for YPF.
(Additional reporting by Guido Nejamkis and Karina Grazina; Editing by Steve Orlofsk)
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