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19-05-2012 19:16:00

Credit Suisse Asks Argentina's Grupo Petersen To Repay Loans

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By Ken Parks


BUENOS AIRES -(Dow Jones)- Credit Suisse AG (CS, CSGN.VX) has informed Argentine conglomerate Grupo Petersen that it must pay back loans used to buy a stake in oil company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) after it missed a $400 million payment.

Credit Suisse notified Petersen SA and related company PEISA on May 17 that the loans were in default and "payable immediately", together with any accrued interest and other obligations, YPF said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Grupo Petersen pledged its shares in YPF as collateral for the loans it obtained to purchase its 25.46% stake in Argentina's biggest oil and gas producer.

The creditor banks still haven't laid claim to those shares, a source close to Grupo Petersen said.

In 2008, the group financed the purchase of 14.9% of YPF from Spain's Repsol YPF SA (REP.MC) with a $1 billion senior secured loan from a group of banks led by Credit Suisse, according to information posted on the website of law firm Cleary Gottlieb, which represented Grupo Petersen in the transaction.

Grupo Petersen, which is owned by Argentina's Eskenazi family, also obtained a $1 billion loan and equity from Repsol.

In 2011, the group purchased an additional 10% stake in YPF, funding the deal with a $700 million senior secured loan from a group of banks led by Banco Itau and Credit Suisse. Repsol pitched in with another loan of about $625 million, according to Gottlieb.

The Eskenazis were counting on hefty dividends from YPF to pay back those loans.

However, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner expropriated a controlling stake in YPF from Repsol YPF earlier this month.

The Kirchner administration has said it will reinvest all of YPF's earnings to reverse declining oil and gas production that have turned Argentina into a net energy importer for the first time in almost two decades.

Grupo Petersen missed a $400 million loan payment earlier this month, which triggered the default provisions in the financing agreements with its creditors.

The risk that a 25% stake in YPF might flood the market if creditors seize the group's YPF shares has weighed on the stock.

YPF's American Depository Shares closed 4.8% lower at a multi-year low of $12.35 Friday. The stock fell 20% last week, and is down 64% for the year.

Argentina's government now owns 51% of YPF, with Grupo Petersen and other investors owning the rest.

-By Ken Parks, Dow Jones Newswires; 54-11-4103-6740; ken.parks@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 19, 2012 13:16 ET (17:16 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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