YPF Sweetens $6.2 Bln Debt Deal Again After Offer Fails

(Reuters, 8.Feb.2021) — Argentine state energy giant YPF made a last-ditch improvement to its $6.2 billion debt restructuring offer to creditors late on Sunday and extended the deadline after the majority of bondholders knocked back an earlier proposal.

The firm, which spearheads development of the South American nation’s huge Vaca Muerta shale fields, said in a statement that it would offer holders of its 2021 bonds a larger cash payout, giving them until Feb. 10 to decide whether to accept.

It added that its previous offer, which expired last Friday, had received acceptance of between 14.18% from holders of the key 2021 bonds and 42% from holders of its 2024 notes. A source said the overall acceptance across all the bond series was around 30%.

The source added, however, that the company expected to obtain the support of the main Ad-Hoc creditor group, which claims to hold about 45% of 2021 bond which matures in March.

“With this latest modification, the company expects to successfully conclude its debt refinancing process, adding a greater participation in the offer from all bondholders eligible to participate in the exchange,” the source said.

“This will result in a greater release of funds for investment activities that allow to return to the growth path in oil and gas production.”

YPF has been forced to restructure its debt amid a wider economic crisis in Argentina, which led the government to impose tough capital controls since late 2019 and push firms to restructure foreign debt.

The firm, which faces a $413 million payment in March on the 2021 bond, needs to swap some 60% of the total bonds in order to get dollars from the central bank, which has toughened rules to protect declining international reserves.

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Reporting by Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Kirsten Donovan