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Telecom Argentina CEO Downplays Nationalization Fears

By Ken Parks Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES BUENOS AIRES -(Dow Jones)- Telecom Argentina SA's (TEO, TECO2.BA) chief executive said Friday that he doesn't expect the telecommunications firm will be nationalized like oil company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA). "We are quite happy to operate here. We haven't had any indication [from the government], and honestly don't expect any surprises in that respect," Chief Executive Franco Bertone said during a conference call with analysts. On Thursday, Congress gave President Cristina Kirchner the greenlight to seize a 51% stake in YPF from Spain's Repsol YPF SA (REPYY, REP.MC) just three weeks after she submitted the expropriation bill. Kirchner says the takeover is necessary because Repsol didn't invest enough in YPF to reverse years of declining oil and gas production that have turned Argentina into a net energy importer. Repsol has denied the charges and said it will fight the takeover in the courts. Kirchner's swift nationalization of the country's largest corporation has fueled speculation that other former state-run companies that were privatized in the 1990s might soon return to government hands. Telecom Argentina and rival Telefonica de Argentina, a subsidiary of Spain's Telefonica SA (TEF), were created when state-run phone giant Entel was broken up and privatized. The government is already a major shareholder in more than two dozen local corporations after Kirchner nationalized the private pension system in 2008. Pension agency Anses owns 25% of Telecom Argentina alone. The company's other direct and indirect shareholders include Telecom Italia SpA (TI, TIT.MI), Telefonica, and Argentina's Werthein family. Telecom Argentina's shares traded in New York were recently down 0.6% at $13.92 Friday, giving the company a market capitalization of about $2.7 billion. Asked if management would consider a share buyback program to address the stock's rock bottom valuation, Bertone said no plans are on the table. "We agree with your view on that metric of the company," he added. -By Ken Parks, Dow Jones Newswires; 54-11-4103-6740, ken.parks@dowjones.com

Stock News for Y P F Sociedade Anon (YPF)
DateTimeHeadline
04/10/201418:17:20Chevron Signals It Will Continue Argentina Shale Investments
03/10/201417:42:18ADR Shares End Lower; Petrobras Shares Active
03/07/201417:52:49Argentina's YPF Boosts Fourth-Quarter Profit by 88%
02/20/201419:28:33Repsol, Argentina Expected to Sign Settlement Over YPF Shortly...
02/18/201412:22:40Argentina's YPF Working on Shale Deal With Malaysia's Petronas
02/14/201413:44:45Apache President Plank Retires, Leon Named Finance Chief
02/12/201419:33:09Apache to Sell Argentina Operations to YPF for $800 Million...
02/12/201417:48:17Apache to Sell Argentina Operations to YPF for $800 Million
01/06/201416:56:49ADR Shares Close Lower; YPF, Telefonica Shares Active
12/16/201317:28:23CORRECT: Argentina's YPF to Raise $500 Million, Five-Year Debt
12/16/201313:21:12Argentina's YPF to Raise $500 Million, Five-Year Debt
11/27/201316:17:40Repsol to Start Talks With Argentina
11/27/201315:56:27Repsol To Start Talks With Argentina Over YPF Compensation
11/26/201318:00:34ADR Shares End Mixed Following U.S. Housing, Consumer Confidence...
11/25/201318:22:10Tentative Accord Reached on Argentine Compensation for YPF
11/20/201320:30:18Argentina to Deepen Economic Policies
11/15/201309:10:30Caxton Associates LP 3Q 13F: Largest Eliminations
11/15/201309:10:28Caxton Associates LP 3Q 13F: Holdings As Of Sep 30 -2-
11/15/201309:10:27Caxton Associates LP 3Q 13F: Holdings As Of Sep 30
11/15/201308:58:09Highfields Capital Management LP 3Q 13F: Holdings As Of Sep 30

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