Argentina studies sale of $5bn in assets

Passers by stand outside a bank BBVA Frances branch in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/File Photo         GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD PACKAGE - SEARCH 'BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD APRIL 25'  FOR ALL IMAGES



Argentina is considering submitting a bill to congress that would allow the state pension manager to sell as much as 70.6 billion pesos ($5 billion) of shares in publicly traded companies, according to a person familiar with the government’s plans.
President Mauricio Macri’s government may submit the proposal before July or issue a decree to modify the pension fund’s rules, said the person, who asked not to be identified because a final decision hasn’t been made. In October, congress passed a law that forbids state agencies, including pension fund manager Anses, from selling shares without lawmakers’ approval.
The fund owns stakes of more than 20 percent in companies including Banco Macro SA, Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires SA and Grupo Clarin SA. The Fondo de Garantia de Sustentabilidad, Anses’ investment fund, had 612.2 billion pesos of assets at the end of October, mostly Argentine government bonds. “It’s a very restrictive law, so it’s not surprising that the government is seeking to repeal it, “ said Rafael Di Giorno, a director at Proficio Investment in Buenos Aires, which manages $250mn of assets including Argentine bonds. “There’s a market expectation that Anses will eventually sell the shares in blocks, likely to the company owners, to prevent the share prices from plummeting in a single day.”

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