Hike in ANSES' voting rights cap is credit negative for banks - Moody's

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Argentine government's removal of a 5% cap on voting rights that social security agency ANSES can hold in banks and other companies is credit negative for local banks, as it signals that the state will have greater influence on commercial and strategic decisions, Moody's said in a report.

ANSES has a 31% stake in Banco Macro (NYSE: BMA), 20% of Grupo Galicia's (Nasdaq: GGAL) capital and 10% of the voting rights, 15% of Banco Patagonia, 7.5% of BBVA Banco Francés (NYSE: BFR), and 4.87% of Banco Hipotecario.

ANSES came to own these stakes following the December 2008 nationalization of private pension fund companies (known locally as AFJPs), in which the pension funds' ownership in banks and other companies became direct shareholdings of Argentina's government through ANSES.

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In the case of Banco Macro, ANSES' 31% stake means it could claim as many as three directors on the board, naming one a year based the bank's board policies, the report reads.

At Banco Patagonia, just one of the bank's nine board seats is up for election. Federally controlled Brazilian bank Banco do Brasil (BB) owns 51% of Banco Patagonia.