This story can begin in the way that each one wants and at the moment that each one wants. Even in the 90s, with the privatization of Menem. But the end will always be the same always: a zafarrancho.
Let’s start with what happens in these hours. The economist Guillermo Nielsen was the negotiator of the foreign debt in the Kirchner government. It was going to be in the Fernández government but Cristina swept it. As a consolation prize, they gave him the presidency of YPF with a very important package of fees.
He was still the right man to negotiate YPF’s debt of some US $ 6.2 billion. And he was again toad: he started the task but Cristina’s long arm he just took him off the court. This time, the consolation prize will be the embassy in Saudi Arabia. For Nielsen, what was notoriously a demotion is “a new challenge that was offered to me by the President of the Nation.” We are already great. It is a very large toad.
Nor can it be believed that the government fired a debt restructuring specialist just when it was restructuring the debt of the country’s leading company. Obvious: YPF’s bond price fell apart.
It had started to fall when Nielsen was ordered to include in the negotiation kick-forward the interest payment on all bonds, including those due in 2047. YPF has only one immediate maturity: a little more than US $ 400 million in April . The market had understood the need to refinance that 2021 bond, but was scared when all the bonds and interest appeared in the same operation.
Nielsen, a massista who worked for Fernández’s candidacy, was surrounded and not to protect him, by a CEO that had been imposed on him and by La Cámpora. The CEO is Sergio Affronti, appointed by Cristina at the proposal of Miguel Galuccio, who managed YPF and today heads his own oil group.
A detail that is not a detail: Galuccio held two positions: Chairman of the Board and CEO. Nielsen was left with the directory: the irons were for Affronti. With Santiago Carreras and Patucho Alvarez, La Cámpora controls the huge advertising and marketing box. Of boxes and of those boxes they know as few.
And since neither Christianity nor La Cámpora deprive themselves of anything, the president of YPF who will replace Nielsen will be Pablo González, a man from Santa Cruz who knows everything less about oil, Carlos Zannini’s chicken and now very close to Máximo Kirchner.
Nothing too surprising. In just over 20 years, YPF was privatized, Argentinized, and re-statized. The rudest thing was the nationalization, a large scale copy of Ciccone. With Kirchner behind them, the Esquenazi family, from the Santa Cruz bank, bought 25% from Repsol without putting a peso, with the money from YPF’s own profits. Kirchner’s death frustrated that process that Cristina had started as president.
Four years later, in 2012, she decided to re-state. They had caused a disaster: without investment, the company was undercapitalized and production and reserves plummeted and self-sufficiency was lost. For 50% of YPF, Cristina and her minister Kicillof paid Repsol US $ 5,000 million when they had said they were not going to pay him a penny. YPF was then worth US $ 10 billion. Today it is worth about 1,450 and has a debt of 8,500. It is the worst and clearest example of what politics can do with the State.