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Repsol posts 2013 loss as Argentine row nears end

By Tracy Rucinski and Andrés González

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish oil major Repsol reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 1.028 billion euros ($1.4 billion) after writing down the value of energy assets seized by the Argentine government two years ago in a conflict that was nearing an end on Tuesday.

The results publication came a day ahead of schedule and followed approval by Repsol's board of a $5 billion settlement from Argentina over its 2012 expropriation of Repsol's majority stake in energy company YPF .

Aside from a 1.3 billion euros writedown on the loss of value of its YPF stake, fourth-quarter one-off items included a 1.1 billion euro revaluation of North American assets and a 1.26 billion euro capital gain from the of LNG assets in 2013.

In a regulatory filing, Repsol said CCS net, which takes into account changes in the value of inventories (CCS), compared with a fourth quarter net profit of 342 million euros a year earlier.

Recurring results were also weak following prolonged outages in politically-unstable Libya and periods of maintenance at its refining installations in Spain, which weighed on margins.

Excluding one-off items, the company posted a clean net profit of 251 million euros in the fourth quarter, down 51.5 percent from a year earlier, but topping an average Reuters poll forecast for 236 million euros.

Repsol is the last of European integrated oil majors to publish fourth quarter results, which showed industry-wide weakness in the face of flat oil prices and rising costs.

However, Repsol has outpaced its peers in terms of production, with output growing 4 percent in 2013 compared with falling output for peers other than Galp of Portugal.

The company also posted a record reserve replacement ratio, the level of proven reserves against the amount of oil and gas produced, at 275 percent in 2013, the highest in the industry worldwide.

GROWTH AFTER ARGENTINA

Repsol said it would shortly present a share buyback plan to shareholders for up to 2 percent of its capital, but it is still investing, in contrast to other European oil peers such as Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total which have mainly been scaling back capital spending in favor of handing cash back to investors.

The settlement with Argentina will allow Repsol to focus firmly on a plan to boost its international exploration and production business to compensate for the loss of YPF, which had accounted for over half of its output.

"The agreement with Argentina will add income from the recovered value, reinforcing the company's financial strength and increasing Repsol's growth and investment capacity during the next few years," it said in a statement.

Repsol, which already has the second highest dividend yield among peers at 5.3 percent and above an average 3.6 percent for the sector, also said would pay a final 2013 dividend of 0.5 euros per share.

Repsol's shares, which have suffered during the turmoil with Argentina, closed up 0.88 percent at 18.37 euros on Tuesday before the deal was announced.

Analysts have said a $5 billion settlement from Argentina could add up to 3 euros to Repsol's share price. ($1 = 0.7282 euros)

(Editing by Sarah White)

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