Government Engages Cavallo’s Legal Expertise for Banco Nación Privatization Effort

Government Engages Cavallo’s Legal Expertise for Banco Nación Privatization Effort

Banco Nación’s board of directors, under the leadership of Daniel Tillard, has initiated the process to convert the country’s primary financial institution into a public limited company. One of their initial steps was to procure legal counsel from the law firm of Horacio Tomás Liendo, who is credited with the creation of the Convertibility Law and was legal advisor to Domingo Cavallo during Carlos Menem’s tenure as Minister of Economy.

The conversion of the Nation into a public limited company (SA) was mandated by decree 70/2023, article 48, which states that “All societies or corporations with State participation, regardless of the type or corporate form, will be changed into Public Limited Companies. This includes State Companies lacking a corporate legal form, state companies, public limited companies with majority state participation, mixed economy companies, and all other corporate structures where the national state has capital participation or contributes to corporate decision making and are not constituted as public limited companies.”

The government’s aim is to bring the 41 state-owned enterprises on par with private sector companies. Subsequently, each will be evaluated individually and several options will be considered: integration of majority or minority private capital; privatization; or the complete closure of some state companies.

The plan to finalize the process, particularly concerning tasks assigned to the Liendo firm –which is charging $62.8 million plus VAT–, includes:

During former President Carlos Menem’s administration, the only national bank that was privatized was the National Mortgage Bank. Although the state retained the majority shareholding, control of the entity has been with IRSA, a company led by Eduardo Elsztain, since its privatization in 1999.

A working group, comprising officials from the Economy, the Central Bank, and the Nation, will be established to spearhead this initiative.

Official sources confirmed to Clarín the engagement of the Liendo firm, stating: “Their expertise can assist us in drafting the statute and the necessary laws, decrees, and resolutions to achieve this.”

The banking union, led by Christian union leader Sergio Palazzo, has already voiced their resounding opposition to the Nation’s transformation and has organized several protests and events to express La Bancaria’s stance.

At present, Banco Nación’s assets are valued at 16.4 billion pesos (half of which are public securities), liabilities amount to $12.5 billion, and the net worth stands at 3.7 billion pesos. It has loaned 3.5 billion pesos and holds deposits worth 11 billion pesos. The bank employs 17,707 individuals and operates 655 branches.