UPDATE 2-Repsol eyes upstream buys after Argentina settlement

miércoles 26 de febrero de 2014 13:18 GYT

* Chairman hopes to get YPF settlement cash in two years

* Prioritises purchases over shareholder remuneration

* Up to $6.5 bln available for acquisitions in upstream

By Tracy Rucinski and Andrés González

MADRID, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Spanish oil major Repsol said on Wednesday it was on the lookout for acquisitions to boost its exploration and production (E&P) business following the bruising loss of its Argentine energy arm two years ago.

On Tuesday Repsol's board approved a $5 billion settlement from Argentina for the expropriation by Buenos Aires of its majority stake in YPF, drawing a line under a two-year conflict.

Chairman Antonio Brufau said the company hoped to sell bonds from the settlement in the next two years and invest the cash in growing its business rather than returning more to shareholders.

Its strategy contrasts with that of other European oil groups such as Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total , who are sacrificing investments to hand cash back to shareholders.

Repsol already has the second highest dividend yield among peers at 5.3 percent, making it one of the few oil majors that is combining a growth strategy with shareholder returns.   Continuación...