August 1, 2016 / 5:56 PM / 2 years ago

CORRECTED-Brazil activist investor seeks meeting on Oi SA and Pharol

(Corrects spelling of activist shareholder’s name in second and fourth paragraphs)

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Aug 1 (Reuters) - A Brazilian activist investor with a stake in bankrupt telecom provider Oi SA has requested a shareholders meeting to discuss its allegations that the carrier’s majority owner Pharol SGPS SA committed improprieties, according to a securities filing made late on Friday.

Société Mondiale, which holds 7 percent of Oi’s voting shares, proposed that the meeting be called in eight days, the filing showed. Oi said in a statement on Monday its board would analyse Société’s request, without giving a date for the shareholders meeting.

The activist, controlled by Brazilian businessman Nelson Tanure, known for investing in companies in financial difficulty, acquired a stake in Oi after it filed for bankruptcy protection in June. Pharol remains the largest individual shareholder of Oi, with 27.49 of its voting shares.

Société Mondiale wants Oi’s shareholders to weigh a proposal to commence legal and arbitrage proceedings against Pharol, formerly Portugal Telecom, and its wholly owned Netherlands-based subsidiary Bratel BV, for committing what the activist called “illegal acts” in managing Oi.

Pharol declined to comment on the matter.

The arbitrations would be aimed at collecting damages related to the shareholder agreement between Oi SA and Portugal Telecom, which involved “overvalued or unsubstantiated assets,” including 3.2 billion reais ($980 million) in defaulted debt instruments issued by Rio Forte Investments SA and acquired by Portugal Telecom, according to the securities filing.

Tanure’s vehicle will also propose annulling a March 2015 shareholders meeting approving Portugal Telecom’s acquisition of a majority stake in Oi through a share offering carried out in the context of Oi’s takeover by the Portuguese company.

In addition, the proposed claims would seek monetary damages from former executives of Oi and Santander Brasil, which was responsible for evaluating the assets involved in the merger, according to the minority shareholder.

Société claims the bank contributed “materially and decisively... to the damages suffered by Oi in the acquisition by Pharol of the shares issued in the public offering,” carried out as part of the tie-up, according to the Friday securities filing.

Banco Santander refused to comment on affairs involving its clients.

It was unclear whether the meeting Tanure was seeking would actually occur in eight days. Last month, another vote sought by the activist to propose changes in Oi’s board was delayed after the company asked the bankruptcy judge overseeing its case to issue an opinion on the matter. That ruling is still pending.

Brazilian markets regulator CVM did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. ($1 = 3.2642 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Christian Plumb and David Gregorio)

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