Dos Santos woos Oi, PT with possible capital hike to support bid

lunes 15 de diciembre de 2014 07:17 GYT
 

LISBON Dec 15 (Reuters) - Angolan billionaire businesswoman Isabel dos Santos is ready to help capitalise Brazil's Oi if her bid for Portugal Telecom SGPS (PT SGPS), a key Oi shareholder, is successful and Oi's planned sale of Portuguese assets does not go ahead.

Mario Silva, board member and spokesman for dos Santos' Terra Peregrin company that last month made a 1.2 billion euro ($1.49 billion) takeover bid for PT SGPS, told Reuters on Friday her company would consider a capital increase for debt-laden Oi and purchasing Oi shares if it wins.

In addition, it is open to the idea of a partial initial public offering in PT Portugal - once PT SGPS' operating assets in Portugal that are now part of Oi after a merger of their two companies.

Oi has agreed to sell PT Portugal to telecoms group Altice for 7.4 billion euros, but the deal hinges on approval by PT SGPS shareholders who will vote on the deal on Jan. 12.

Dos Santos, the daughter of Angola's long-serving president, is opposed to that sale as she wants to preserve Oi and PT SGPS intact to develop a leading telecoms business across the Portuguese-speaking world. A key condition of her offer is that the sale of PT Portugal does not go ahead.

"We have the will and interest to work with other Oi shareholders to find ways of capitalising it, give it the necessary financial muscle to have a bigger, reinforced market share when potential consolidation occurs" in the Brazilian telecom market, Silva told Reuters.

A public offering of shares in PT Portugal could be done, but preserving control of the company, he said.

"We believe that the combination of these solutions ... will reduce the leveraging of Oi more than the simple sale of PT Portugal would," Silva said, reiterating that Terra Peregrin has no plans to increase its bid of 1.35 euros per PT SGPS share.

Dos Santos, who is listed by Forbes as Africa's richest woman with a net worth of $3.7 billion, is chief executive and major shareholder in Angolan telecoms firm Unitel, and has a large stake in Portugal's No. 2 telecoms firm, NOS.

Following the Oi merger, PT SGPS's stake in Oi is its only asset, apart from 900 million euros of defaulted debt by a bankrupt holding company of the Espirito Santo family.

($1 = 0.8051 euros) (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge)