LISBON, May 5 (Reuters) - A long-expected consolidation of Brazil’s telecoms industry that is likely to involve Oi and TIM has run into delays but is likely to go ahead in 2016, a representative of Oi’s largest shareholder, Portugal Telecom SGPS, said on Tuesday.
Rafael Mora, who is a board member of both PT and Oi, said changes to the shareholder structure of Telecom Italia-controlled TIM, that are expected to be finalised at the end of June, had slowed down the process.
“There are no talks, nothing is happening right now,” he said. “The consolidation process in Brazil will not happen too soon, but it will occur next year for sure. We have no doubt,” he told reporters.
PT is a holding company that owns a 27.5 percent stake in Oi. It no longer has any telecom assets after a merger with Oi and the Brazilian firm’s subsequent decision to sell the Portuguese assets to Altice.
Oi, Brazil’s most indebted phone carrier, gained financial muscle to undertake a takeover or merger with a rival after the 7.4 billion euro ($8.3 billion) sale. Telecom Italia has earlier signalled it is considering whether to buy or combine with Oi.
If Oi bids for TIM, it is expected to do so jointly with the Brazilian units of Mexico’s America Movil SAB and Spain’s Telefonica SA.
Brazil’s four mobile phone operators have sought to reduce the number of carriers to three, as costly investments squeeze profits.
Mora said Oi’s turnaround was running “very well”, citing the example of pay-TV, where Oi reduced the time in which investment in new clients pays back to 30 months in January from 120 months in September.
1 = 0.8937 euros Reporting by Daniel Alvarenga, Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Mark Potter