Eduardo Eurnekian

Miércoles, septiembre 24th, 2014

Argentine Billionaire Eurnekian Sees Market Return Near Election

EE Bloomberg

By Katia Porzecanski and Erik Schatzker

Billionaire Eduardo Eurnekian said he’s waiting for Argentine assets to regain investor favor in the run-up to 2015 elections before taking several units of his holding company public.

Eurnekian’s Corporacion America, which controls interests in airports, energy, construction, nanotechnology and wines, is in talks with banks to plan a share sale once values recover, he said. The record $25 billion initial public offering from China’sAlibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) last week isn’t enough to convince the businessman that now is the right time.

“Argentina is different,” Eurnekian, 81, said yesterday in a television interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “The country has enormous resources to be delivered, explored and a lot of opportunities, and today values are very low.”

Corporacion America is paving the way to sell shares in global markets by opening a representative office in New York, he said. Argentine companies are hamstrung because valuations are too low for IPOs while interest rates are too high to sell debt after the nation defaulted for the second time in 13 years two months ago, he said.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has 15 months left in office after she and her late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner ran the country since 2003. Argentina’s legal dispute with investors from its 2001 default, which is preventing the nation from making payments on its overseas bonds, is deepening a recession and spurring speculation that the debt crisis will have to be resolved by the next administration.

Presidential Candidates

The three leading candidates to replace Fernandez are in a statistical tie, according to the latest poll from Management & Fit. Buenos Aires Province Governor Daniel Scioli, Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri and lawmaker Sergio Massa are all prepared to lead the country, Eurnekian said.

“There isn’t much difference between the candidates,” he said. “They play with the rules of democracy.”

Presidential elections will be held Oct. 25, 2015 and the new government would take office in December of next year.

A group of investors in Argentina’s defaulted bonds from 2001, led by Elliott Management Corp., won an order for full repayment whenever the nation makes interest payments on securities issued in 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings. Fernandez has refused to comply with the ruling, saying that doing so would trigger new claims of $120 billion from other bondholders.

Soros Talks

Argentine bonds have plunged 12 percent since the nation was blocked from making a $539 million interest payment on July 30, pushing yields to 9.6 percent on average.

Eurnekian is interested in helping resolve the dispute and has held talks with banks and investors to find a private solution. Still, he’s not in a position to lead a resolution, he said.

“I am a positive instrument to do something,” he said. “There are many businesspeople interested in doing something, but somebody — and not me — has to lead them.”

Billionaire George Soros, who also met with Fernandez in New York on Sept. 22, may be well positioned to help broker a deal, Eurnekian said.

Soros discussed a “range of topics” with Fernandez including the prospects for the economy and energy sector, his spokesman said in an e-mail. Soros more than doubled his stake in state-run Argentine energy producer YPF SA (YPF) in the second quarter to become the fourth largest private shareholder. He’s also the biggest shareholder of South American agricultural companyAdecoagro SA (AGRO), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“He has the financial resources, he has the knowledge,” Eurnekian said. “If it is in his hand to do something, I think he will.”

Eurnekian, whose Armenian immigrant parents owned a textile business, introduced cable television to Argentina through Cablevision SA and founded networks including America TV. Today, Corporacion America is the world’s largest private airport operator by number of licenses, with more than 50, and about $2 billion in annual sales.

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