March 13, 2007 / 9:03 PM / 13 years ago

Spain's Telefonica sees Latin America as growth lever

SANTIAGO, March 13 (Reuters) - Spanish telecoms group Telefonica (TEF.MC) said on Tuesday that Latin America had become its main growth lever, and would be responsible for more than half its sales growth in 2007.

Telefonica is vying for leadership of the Latin American telecommunications market with Mexican Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest men and the owner of Mexico’s Telmex TELMEXL.MX and America Movil (AMXL.MX).

“We have gained a leadership position and Latin America has become our chief growth lever at a time when the telecommunications market is evolving in our favor,” Telefonica President Cesar Alierta said at a meeting with over 700 company executives in Santiago, Chile.

“Telefonica believes, and always has believed, in Latin America,” he said.

And Telefonica’s director for Latin America Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete said the region would be the source for most of the company’s sales growth this year.

“We are going to meet our goals and in 2007, more than half of the rise in sales of the group will come from Latin America,” he said.

Telefonica Chile, a unit of the Spanish company, is Chile’s largest fixed-line telephone company.

((Reporting by Monica Vargas, writing by Pav Jordan, editing by Jerry Kearney; Reuters Messaging: pawel.jordan.reuters.com@reuters.net; 562 370 4252)) Keywords: CHILE TELEFONICA/

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