A look at Spanish investments in Argentina
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Argentina's plan to nationalize YPF, the Argentine arm of Spanish oil giant Repsol, has come as a big shock to Spain and its businesses. Spain is the largest foreign investor in Argentina, ahead of the United States, and its largest companies all have operations there.
At home, Spain is currently struggling with a deep economic slump _ its central bank forecasts the economy will contract 1.7 percent this year, bringing its second recession in three years _ and the downturn at home has pushed Spanish companies to chase revenue abroad. The country's historic ties with Latin America have made the continent a prime investment target.
The Argentine plan for YPF has cast a cloud over these investments.
Here are some of the main Spanish investors in Argentina and Latin America:
_Repsol YPF has identified Latin America as a key growth area and has developed major operations in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Peru as well as Argentina, where it is the energy market leader through YPF. Repsol says YPF is worth $18.3 billion, and values it own stake at $10.5 billion. YPF's operating income for 2010 was (EURO)1.453 billion ($1.91 billion), compared with the company's total upstream operating income of (EURO)4.113 billion. Investments in YPF in 2010 were (EURO)1.548 billion compared with (EURO)956 million the previous year.
_Operations in Argentina generated (EURO)287 million in profits for Grupo Santander last year, representing 3 percent of the group's profits, according to its 2011 annual report. Santander Rio is Argentina's largest private sector bank in terms of assets and profits. It has 358 branches with 2.5 million individual customers and more than 125,000 corporate clients. Europe's largest bank by market capitalization considers Argentina one of its core markets and opened 34 new bank branches there last year. Santander's Latin American businesses made up 51 percent of its profit for all of 2011.
_Spanish bank BBVA owns 76 percent of Argentina's BBVA Banco Frances, the third largest private bank by deposits with 268 branches. Banco Frances had assets valued at 40 billion pesos ((EURO)6.9 billion) last year _ up from 33 billion the previous year, according to company data.
_Telefonica operates six companies in Argentina, where it is the leading telecom provider. Revenue from Argentina last year amounted to (EURO)3.17 billion, up from (EURO)3 billion in 2010, according to Telefonica's annual report. Argentina represented 5.1 percent of Telefonica's global revenue last year, making it the company's second most important Latin American market after Brazil. Latin America accounted for 46.5 percent of company revenue last year, up from 42.4 percent in 2010.
_Spanish clothes retailer Inditex, which owns the Zara store chain, has 10 stores in Argentina.
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