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Argentina's YPF, GE launch new unit as search for third partner stalls

BUENOS AIRES, June 7 (Reuters) - Argentina's state-owned oil company YPF SA said on Wednesday its electricity unit, which recently received investment from General Electric, would invest $1 billion through 2020, though talks with a potential third partner have stalled.

In February, YPF announced it had sold a 24.99 percent stake in its YPF Energia Electrica unit to GE for $276 million. At the time, it said it was in advanced talks with a third partner, but those negotiations have not borne fruit.

"We do not have an open process," YPF Chairman Miguel Gutierrez told reporters, referring to the search for a third party.

The unit - which will be known as YPF Luz and operate independently from the oil company - will raise its capacity to 4,500 megawatts per hour by 2022 or 2023, Gutierrez said. That would make it Argentina's third-largest generator. Currently, it is the fifth-largest and produces 1,800 megawatts per hour.

Gutierrez said that once the new company finishes its development stage, it could list on the local stock exchange. (Reporting by Juliana Castilla Writing by Luc Cohen, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)