Argentina's YPF acquires control of Metrogas

Buenos Aires, May 7 (EFE).- YPF, the oil company controlled by the Argentine state following the expropriation of a 51 percent stake from Spain's Repsol, said it acquired control of Metrogas, Argentina's largest gas distributor, from BG Group for $9.7 million.

YPF said in a filing with securities regulators that it would now own 70 percent of the gas utility's stock.

Marcelo Nuñez, a veteran energy industry executive, is the new CEO of Metrogas, YPF said.

YPF said on Nov. 29 that it planned to acquire 54.6 percent of the Class A shares of Gas Argentino - the holding company that controlled Metrogas - from Britain's BG Group.

The acquisition of the controlling stake was made "to turn Metrogas into a more efficient and profitable company, taking control of one of Latin America's most attractive gas distribution companies," YPF said.

Metrogas sought bankruptcy protection after it was unable to find alternatives for refinancing its debt.

The gas utility has 2 million customers in the city of Buenos Aires and its suburbs, covering a population of some 7 million, or around 19 percent of Argentina's population.

YPF has been under state control since the Argentine government expropriated a 51 percent stake in the company from Spain's Repsol, which maintains a 12 percent interest in YPF.