Argentina’s nationalized oil and gas company YPF announced it has taken control of Metrogas, after acquiring 54.67% of the shares of Gas Argentino (GASA) from the company British Gas (BG). The takeover leaves the oil company as the main stockholder and controller of 70% of the largest gas distribution company in Argentina.
The official release states that YPF’s decision has as its main purpose making Metrogas “a more efficient and profitable company, taking control for the first time of one of the gas distribution companies most attractive in Latin America with over 2 million clients“ in and around the capital Buenos Aires. However the company did not say how much it paid for the shares.
The final approval of the operation will be responsibility of Enargas and the Argentine Defence Competition National Committee.
Meanwhile, the firm presents a difficult economic situation and registered losses in the first semester of the year, reaching 55.7 million Pesos, 214.3% higher than the one reached in the same period in 2011. Metrogas has been suffering financial problems due to a ratef freeze imposed a decade ago at the height of an economic crisis. In September, it said it was struggling to pay providers
In mid 2010 when Metrogras was accumulating short and long term debts to the tune of 200 million dollars, the company requested to come under administration, and since then has been under the intervention of the Argentine natural gas regulador.