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By Gabriela Mello
SAO PAULO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Brazilian carrier Oi SA plans to double capital expenditure in its business-to-business segment in 2020 compared with 2019, executives said on Wednesday.
Oi’s B2B division, known as Oi Soluções, currently provides services to over 57,000 Brazilian companies both in private and public sectors.
“Oi Soluções requires a significant investment and we expect to more than double B2B capex for 2020,” Adriana Coutinho, head of Oi Soluções, told journalists on the sidelines of a company event in Sao Paulo.
Between 2017 and 2019, she added, the company invested 1 billion reais in the B2B segment, which according to the latest earnings represented almost 28% of Oi’s total net revenue in the first nine months of 2019.
As customers move from voice to data, Oi aims to use its fiber infrastructure to become the largest provider of services to the corporate segment among carriers in Brazil, said Chief Operating Officer Rodrigo Abreu.
“B2B has always been important to Oi and it will be even more so from now on,” Abreu said, highlighting the division is currently the carrier’s largest after its mobile operation.
Oi confirmed recently that it has hired financial advisers to put a value on its mobile operation, which has draw the interest of its largest rivals.
Yet, Brazil’s largest fixed-line carrier insists there are no official negotiations underway.
In September, Reuters reported that Oi was in talks with the local subsidiaries of Spain’s Telefonica SA and Telecom Italia SpA to sell assets and avoid insolvency.
Executives from all three major carriers - Telefonica Brasil SA, TIM Participações SA and America Movil’s Claro - said they could consider a deal with Oi.
In October, Abreu told Reuters Oi may consider selling its mobile operation if it gets attractive offers, but he said the company did rely on such move to fulfill its investment goals.
Oi sees a capital expenditure of 7 billion reais ($1.67 billion) in 2020. Coutinho declined to inform how much of this capex will be allocated to B2B segment.
$1 = 4.1964 reais Reporting by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Tom Brown