SAO PAULO Oct 14 Brazilian phone company TIM
Participaçoes SA is not up for sale, its chief
executive told a local newspaper, denying reports that Telecom
Italia SpA wants to sell its 67 percent stake.
A sale of Brazil's No. 2 wireless company is one option
being considered by Telecom Italia's new chief executive, Marco
Patuano, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last
week. Patuano is under pressure from Telecom Italia's top
shareholder, Spanish group Telefonica SA, to cut debt
through asset sales.
TIM's Chief Executive Rodrigo Abreu in an interview
published on Monday reiterated comments made in a filing from
Telecom Italia last Wednesday that no sale process has started.
"The controlling shareholder made it absolutely clear that
there is no sale process of TIM Brazil ongoing, formally or
informally," Abreu told Estado de S. Paulo. A spokeswoman for
TIM confirmed the contents of the interview.
Abreu said for TIM's situation to change, Telefonica would
need to get approval to buy more shares with voting rights in
Telco, a holding company now controlled by Telefonica.
"Now, nothing changes. Any additional increase would need
approval from Italian, Brazilian and Argentine authorities."
TIM competes directly with Telefonica in Brazil. Analysts
say selling it or Telecom Argentina could help raise badly
needed capital for Telecom Italia, a fix favored by Telefonica.
Abreu said TIM does not share Telecom Italia's high debt
burden, pointing to the acquisitions of smaller telecom firms
Intelig and AES Atimus to improve its infrastructure and offer
fixed broadband services.