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YPF should focus in oil, forget scooters -Massa

Anthony Lanzilote/Bloomberg

“They decided to invest in scooter makers rather than in drilling for oil -- when YPF is an oil company!”
-Sergio Massa a close ally of presidential front-runner, Alberto Fernandez.

- ‘They invested in scooter makers rather than in oil drilling'
- Opposition leader bashes state-controlled company management

By Eric Martinand Pablo Rosendo Gonzalez / Bloomberg

Petroleumworld 10 08 2019

Argentine state-controlled energy company YPF SA should go back to its core business of pumping oil and stop investing in other projects like scooters, according to one of the closest allies of presidential front-runner, Alberto Fernandez.

“I have criticisms of the current administration,” Sergio Massa, a lower house candidate for the Province of Buenos Aires, said at an event at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington on Friday. “They decided to invest in scooter makers rather than in drilling for oil -- when YPF is an oil company!”

Fernandez, who won Argentina's primary last month and is leading polls ahead of an Oct. 27 national vote, will be the one choosing members of the YPF board if elected, Massa said, adding that he hasn't discussed candidates or profiles with Fernandez nor made recommendations. After trading little changed earlier Friday, YPF American depositary receipts rose as much as 2.9% to $9.65 in New York following Massa's comments.

A YPF spokesman declined to comment.

Massa's speech is the first sign from the Fernandez team that if elected, the former cabinet chief will shift YPF's strategy to one aimed at increasing output. Led by financial wizards appointed by President Mauricio Macri, YPF saw production drop for a second straight year in 2018.

Under Chairman Miguel Angel Gutierrez, a founding partner at the Rohatyn Group , and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Gonzalez Casartelli, a former Latin America director at Bank of America Corp , the company focused on shoring up its balance sheet. It sold assets, cutting capital expenditures from as much as $6 billion a year during the administration of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is running as Fernandez's vice presidential candidate, to as low as $3.7 billion during Macri's years.

While oil and gas production remained flat, the current administration tried to boost other business such as investing in Bird Technologies , a leading company in urban micro-mobility that provides short distance personal mobility services by distributing electric scooters in big cities.

YPF executives said in June that no investment in any single project would exceed 0.1% of the company's capital expenditure, which the company forecasts at as much as $4 billion this year.

— With assistance by Carolina Millan

Story by Eric Martinand Pablo Rosendo Gonzalez from Bloomberg. / 10 04 2019


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