28 de julio de 2016 / 6:29 / en un año

UPDATE 1-Spain's Telefonica affirms dividend despite weak second quarter

* Affirms 0.70 euro per share dividend for 2016

* Debt up to 52.6 bln euros at end June from 50.2 bln at end-March

* Rev drops 7.7 pct to 12.72 bln euros vs 12.89 bln forecast (Adds details on debt, dividend)

MADRID, July 28 (Reuters) - Spain’s Telefonica on Thursday affirmed its 0.70 euro per share dividend for 2016 despite a growing debt and a weak second quarter, when it was hit by the fall in value of Latin American currencies and of sterling after the Brexit vote.

The telecoms group is under pressure to cut debt after the sale of its British business O2 was blocked by the European antitrust watchdog earlier this year, and a dividend cut had been mentioned by analysts as a potential option.

Telefonica, which is also considering a partial or total sale of its telecoms masts unit Telxius as well as O2, reiterated its objectives for this year, although it now plans to reach a leverage ratio (debt to operating income) of below 2.35 times “in the mid term” and no longer in 2016.

Debt rose to 52.6 billion euros ($58 billion) at the end of June from 50.2 billion at end-March, while the leverage ratio increased to 3.2 times from 2.52 times.

The quarter was also weak in terms of activity, with a 0.2 percent fall in revenue and a 0.8 percent rise in operating income before depreciation and amortisation (oibda) in organic terms.

But once including the effect of currency variations, Oibda was down 7.1 percent between April and June to 3.92 billion euros, below a Reuters forecast for 3.96 billion, with big hits in Latin America and Britain.

Revenue dropped 7.7 percent to 12.72 billion euros, also missing a 12.89 billion forecast.

The Spanish business, which account for a fourth of revenue and a third of core profits, was better however, with sales and Oibda growing 2.5 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. ($1 = 0.9038 euros) (Reporting by Julien Toyer and Andres Gonzalez; Editing by Paul Day and David Holmes)

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