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Spain's Repsol sells package of Argentine bonds for $2.8 billion

A woman stands beside the logo of Spanish oil company Repsol outside its headquarters in Madrid May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
A woman stands beside the logo of Spanish oil company Repsol outside its headquarters in Madrid May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish oil major Repsol has sold a package of Argentine BONAR24 sovereign bonds to JP Morgan for $2.8 billion, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The bonds were part of a $5 billion settlement with Argentina after the South American country expropriated Repsol's 51 percent stake in energy firm YPF in 2012.

Repsol is restricted from selling the rest of the bonds it received from Argentina in the settlement for a period of seven days, with some exceptions, the statement said.

Repsol has said it would monetize all of the bonds within two years, but on Thursday Chief Financial Officer Miguel Martinez said the full sale could come even sooner if there is a window of opportunity.

If Repsol does not make $5 billion in selling all of the bonds, due to the market discount, Argentina will supplement the deal with additional bonds.

Friday's sale of Argentina bonds follows Repsol's disposal of nearly all its remaining YPF stake on Wednesday and the sale of liquefied natural gas assets last year.

Repsol has said it could spend $10 billion on purchases to boost its exploration and production business but has left the door open to paying a special dividend or buying back its own stock if it cannot find an attractive acquisition.

How the company ends up deploying capital is one of the main concerns of investors, who are also watching out for a possible shareholder shake-up after Repsol's third-biggest shareholder Pemex of Mexico said it could sell its 9.3 percent stake.

Pemex has had an increasingly confrontational relationship with Repsol, due largely to disagreements over how the Spanish oil major handled the loss of YPF in Argentina and the degree of influence it has allowed its Mexican partner.

It voted against Repsol Executive Chairman Antonio Brufau's appointment last week of a new chief executive officer, Josu Jon Imaz. Repsol said on Thursday that one of Imaz's primary duties will be mending relations with Pemex.

(Reporting by Andres Gonzalez, Jose Elias Rodriguez and Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Fiona Ortiz)

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