Telefonica sells stake in equipment firm Amper

MADRID Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:53am EST

MADRID Jan 15 (Reuters) - Telefonica S.A. has sold its remaining 2.9 percent stake in telecommmunications equipment company Amper S.A., which it used to fully own, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

Telefonica, which is on a debt-cutting drive to protect its investment grade credit rating, had already cut its 5.7 percent stake in Amper to 2.9 percent in September.

"This sale was expected and we would also say that the impact of this transaction is immaterial for Telefonica's cash flow," Espirito Santo analysts said in a note to clients, estimating the value of the 2.9 percent stake at 1.6 million euros ($2.1 million).

Telefonica declined to comment. Spanish companies are not required to publicly announce sales of stakes under 3 percent.

Telefonica took over Amper in 1982, making the company its main equipment supplier. Amper then went public in 1986 and around half of its shares are free floating.

Sweden-based investment firm Tvikap AB, owned by Spanish corporate and individual investors, is Amper's largest shareholder with 22 percent of the company.

Telefonica sold a number of interests in 2012, including its call centre business Atento and also sold a stake in its German O2-branded mobile business through a share float. The company is also considering floating up to 15 percent of its Latin American business to raise cash.

Telefonica, which reports full-year results in February, is expected to reduce its debt to 50 billion euros at year-end from 56 billion euros at end-Sept. ($1=0.7482 euros) (Reporting by Clare Kane; Editing by Greg Mahlich)