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Report: Argentine state pension fund manager could sell shares in local banks, other firms

Argentina'sgovernment is considering submitting a bill to Congress that would allow the statepension fund manager Anses to sell up to $5 billion worth of shares in publiclytraded companies, including several banks. Bloomberg News reported, citing a sourcewith knowledge of the government's plans.

Argentinawould likely use the proceeds to pay pensioners who have launched lawsuits againstthe fund manager over the lack of increases in their pensions following the country'sdefault in 2001, the report said.

Anses'investment fund, which had 612.2 billion pesos worth of assets at the end of October2015, mostly in government bonds, holds stakes of more than 20% in a number of companies,including Banco Macro SAand Banco de Galicia y Buenos AiresSA.

In October2015, Congress passed a law forbidding state agencies, including Anses, from sellingshares without lawmakers' approval. However, President Mauricio Macri's new government,which took office in December 2015, could submit a proposal by mid-2016 to repealthe law or issue a decree modifying the pension fund's rules, the source said.

Anseswill likely sell the shares in blocks to the companies' owners to avoid negativelyimpacting the share prices, the report said, citing Rafael Di Giorno, a directorat Buenos Aires-based Proficio Investment.

As of April 26, US$1 was worth14.32 Argentine pesos.