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Brazil’s Oi says mobile unit to issue up to $609.4 million in debenture bonds

By Gabriela Mello

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian telecoms company Oi SA <OIBR4.SA> said on Monday its mobile unit has signed an agreement to issue up to 2.5 billion reais ($609.40 million) in debenture bonds with a 24-month term to meet its cash needs.

The move comes as Brazil’s largest fixed-line carrier struggles to turn around its business since filing for bankruptcy protection in June 2016 and to restructure approximately 65 billion reais ($15.7 billion) of debt.

In a securities filing early on Monday, Oi said the debt issuing was foreseen in its restructuring plan as debtor-in-possession financing (DIP) to raise cash while under bankruptcy.

The company is also working to divest non-core assets such as towers, data centers, real estate and a 25% stake in Angolan carrier Unitel to fulfill investments in its fiber-to-the-home broadband service.

Earlier in December, Oi’s chief operating officer said the company had hired financial advisors to put a value on its mobile unit, which has draw the interest of all three competitors.

Executives from all three major carriers – Telefonica Brasil SA <VIVT4.SA>, TIM Participações SA <TIMP3.SA> and America Movil’s Claro <AMXL.MX> – said they could consider a deal with Oi.

($1 = 4.1024 reais)

(Reporting by Gabriela Mello; editing by Alison Williams, Larry King)

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