June 30, 2016 / 2:57 PM / 2 years ago

Brazil's Oi to begin talks with creditors next week, says CEO

SAO PAULO, June 30 (Reuters) - Oi SA, Brazil’s largest fixed-line telephone carrier, plans to start meetings with bondholders and banks next week as part of the country’s biggest-ever bankruptcy protection process, Chief Executive Marco Schroeder said on Thursday.

To restructure its 64.5 billion reais ($20 billion) of bonds, bank debt and other liabilities, Oi will propose a mix of cuts in the nominal debt value, extension of maturities and conversion of debt to equity, he said in a phone interview. Schroeder did not elaborate on the terms to be proposed.

The phone carrier does not plan to sell Brazilian assets, but may divest from African companies previously owned by Portugal Telecom SGPS SA, before the two firms merged in 2013. Schroeder said some companies have shown interest in the African assets.

Late on Wednesday, a judge in Rio de Janeiro accepted Oi’s request for bankruptcy protection, citing its importance to the Brazilian economy in light of its 70 million clients and 140,000 employees.

Oi’s preferred shares fell 6 percent in Sao Paulo trading, bring the total drop this year to 34 percent.

$1 = 3.2061 Brazilian reais Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Dan Grebler

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