According to local media reports, the Argentine government is close to reaching a $15.1 billion settlement for damages that the country was ordered to pay in a U.S. trial over the renationalization of state oil company YPF in 2012. Argentinians like Clarin. In this ruling, the judge did not set a specific amount, but encouraged the two parties to determine the compensation themselves. However, the calculations she presented indicated a payment of 16,000 million, which the Argentine government only wanted to negotiate down slightly.
Officially, the government of Alberto Fernández insists on only accepting the payment of another 5,000 million to the plaintiffs, as it initially argued in the trial. But Sebastián Maril of the firm Latam Advisors, which is closely following the case, pointed out in the last hours that the Argentine government had recognized most of the debt.
Of the total amount that Argentina will have to pay, more than 11,000 million will go to the Burford fund that finances the lawsuit, and the rest would go to Repsol (with about 1,500 million) and the companies of the Argentine Eskenazi family. These include two Spanish companies, Petersen Energía and Petersen Energía Inversora, which have been in bankruptcy proceedings since the expropriation.
These funds claimed that at the time of YPF’s nationalization in 2012, Argentina should have made a takeover bid for the entire company (as set out in the company’s articles of association) and not just part of it. The government, then chaired by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, paid Repsol only 5,000 million for 51% of the company’s shares, leaving the remaining shareholders without power or compensation. Currently, the entire YPF is worth about $5.2 billion at the open market exchange rate.
“The court considers that the plaintiffs suffered damages from Argentina because they had the right to receive a public takeover offer that would have allowed them to exit with compensation, but did not do so,” the ruling says. For this reason, they ordered Argentina to pay an amount in proportion to Repsol’s 5,000 million for the remaining 49% of the shares, plus interest of 8% per annum for each of the 11 years that have passed since the nationalization.
If this compensation is completed, the Burford Fund would realize a profit of almost 37,000% compared to what it paid for the litigation it pursued. An advantage even greater than that of the so-called “vulture funds” that bought up defaulted Argentine debt after the 2001 crisis and managed to get the government to repay it more than a decade later.
Specifically, Fernández de Kirchner, the current vice president, accused the US judiciary of “advocating vulture funds” and recalled several corruption complaints made public in recent weeks against one of the justices of the US Supreme Court, the conservative Samuel Alito. .
The verdict, announced last Friday, September 8, is a hard blow at a time when the financial situation of the Latin American country is becoming increasingly precarious and inflation has been above 100% year-on-year for several months and has already reached in August 124%. And all this on the threshold of a presidential election in which the leading candidate, the libertarian Javier Milei, proposes the dollarization of the country.