Argentine state-controlled energy company YPF said it has purchased a 54.67 percent stake in Gas Argentino, the holding company that controls Argentina's largest natural gas distributor, Metrogas.

YPF said it will hold a 70 percent stake in Metrogas if its acquisition of a majority interest in Gas Argentino from British Gas is approved.

Metrogas is one of Latin America's most attractive gas distributors with more than 2 million customers, YPF said in a statement Thursday, adding that the deal is aimed at making the company "more efficient and profitable."

"Metrogas is a crucial company for the country's energy matrix and the joint effort of YPF and the government will allow it to recover its value, efficiency and strong market performance," YPF said.

The transaction still requires the approval of Argentina's natural gas regulator Enargas and the National Commission for the Defense of Competition, or CNDC,

YPF has been under Argentine government control since Congress voted in May to approve the seizure of a 51 percent stake from Spanish oil major Repsol, whose interest in its former unit has been reduced to 12 percent. EFE