Spain's Telefonica eyes Colombian listing - report

MADRID, April 10 Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:48am EDT

MADRID, April 10 (Reuters) - Spain's Telefonica is planning a partial listing of its Colombian business to help it cut debt, Spanish online news site El Confidencial reported on Wednesday, citing financial sources.

Telefonica, which owns 70 percent of Telefonica Telecom, with the rest held by the Colombian government, has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to study the option of an initial public offering (IPO), the newspaper said.

Telefonica and Bank of America Merrill Lynch declined to comment on the report.

The Spanish telecoms giant wants to lower its debt to below 47 billion euros ($61.37 billion) by year-end from 51.3 billion in 2012.

In February, it scrapped a plan to list its broader Latin America business.

Espirito Santo analysts estimated that Telefonica's stake in the Colombian business was worth around 1.07 billion euros, so a listing would make only a small contribution to the group's debt cutting effort.

"However, we would not be surprised to see Telefonica carrying out operations such as these in the near term to provide even more comfort on its debt reduction target," the analysts said in a note to clients.

Telefonica raised 975 million euros last month by selling all its treasury stock.

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