September 1, 2017 / 4:32 PM / a year ago

Brazil watchdog urges quick solution to Oi's license issue

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The head of Brazil’s telecommunications industry regulator vowed to analyze quickly whether to remove Oi SA’s operating license as a protracted bankruptcy protection takes a toll on the phone carrier’s finances.

According to Juarez Quadros, the president of watchdog Anatel, fellow councilor Igor de Freitas’s request to cancel Oi’s operating license must be dealt with promptly, unlike similar cases in the past.

On Thursday, Anatel said the councilor’s request is under consideration. Government agencies including Anatel have expressed concern about the slow pace at which Oi’s bankruptcy protection case is moving, and how a rift between creditors and shareholders of the carrier has gotten worse during the 15-month long process.

The request has been assigned to a rapporteur at the agency, who will in turn have to analyze whether Freitas’s request can be submitted to a plenary vote at Anatel, Quadros said.

Rio de Janeiro-based Oi said late on Thursday that it “is not aware of the arguments that could create a basis” for the cancellation of its operating licenses. It claimed that it has met all legal procedures in the bankruptcy protection case.

Preferred shares dropped 3 percent in early afternoon trading to 3.60 reais. The stock is up 60 percent this year. (Reporting by Maria Clara C Pestre; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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