President-elect Javier Milei today ratified his intention to move forward with the privatization of several public companies during his term. In an interview on Radio Mitre, the winner of the runoff confirmed that YPF as well as Public Television, National Radio and the Telam news agency will be privatized.
In the interview with Eduardo Feinmann, when asked what will happen to the state oil company, Milei responded: "Everything that can be in the hands of the private sector is going to be in the hands of the private sector."
And he added: "YPF first has to be recomposed. Since Kicillof decided to nationalize it, the deterioration they have made of the company in terms of results so that it is worth less than when it was expropriated... Obviously, the first thing to do is to put it back together."
However, he did not set deadlines and specified that "in the transition that we are thinking about in the energy issue, YPF and Enarsa have a role. As long as these structures are rationalized, they are put to create value so that they can be sold in a very beneficial way for Argentines."
YPF was privatized in the 90s and nationalized in 2012 during the government of Cristina Kircher, with Axel Kicillof as Minister of Economy. As a result of this operation, a group of investors sued Argentina and recently the U.S. courts determined that Argentina must pay US$ 16,000 million as compensation to the plaintiffs.
In 2012, Kicillof paid Repsol, then YPF's main shareholder, $5 billion for 000% of the company's shares, leaving the rest of the shareholders without compensation, prompting the lawsuit. Today, YPF is valued at about US$ 51,4 million at the exchange rate of the liqui spot.
Since the beginning of Alberto Fernández's administration, YPF has been in the hands of La Cámpora, with Pablo González as CEO. And it is one of the main savings banks of this political grouping, along with Aerolíneas Argentinas, Anses and PAMI.
Although Milei did not mention the issue, an eventual privatization of YPF must be approved by Congress. La Libertad Avanza has a bench of 39 deputies and 7 senators and in order to privatize YPF it needs the support of other forces. So far, the legislators of Juntos por Cambio, indispensable to move forward with this project, have not been in favor of the sale of the state-owned company.
Following Milei's announcement, YPF shares jumped 14% on Wall Street.
In addition, the president-elect confirmed what he had slipped in the campaign, the privatization of public media: TV Pública, Télam and Radio Nacional. He was very precise in reference to Public TV: "We consider that Public TV has become a propaganda mechanism," he said in the radio interview.
And he assured: "The 75% that was talked about in our space was done in a negative way, with lies and fertilizing the campaign of fear. I don't subscribe to those practices of having a propaganda ministry."
So far, Milei has made no mention of what will happen to Aerolíneas Argentinas, another state-owned company that he attacked several times when he was a candidate. Before the elections, Milei had stated that he plans to give ownership of Aerolíneas Argentinas to the employees, and detailed that he plans to grant them "a year of working capital."
On that occasion, he explained that this means providing what is known as a "working fund, so that they are not underfunded and can continue operating, while they achieve their restructuring."