August 1, 2018 / 6:21 PM / 3 months ago

Brazil's Oi to call for shareholders' meeting within days -source

SAO PAULO, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Oi SA, Brazil’s largest fixed-line telecom firm, is about to formally call for a general shareholders’ meeting, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, as the company pushes ahead with its aggressive restructuring plan.

According to the source, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter before the announcement, the firm plans to file a formal invite for the meeting to officially approve a 4 billion reais ($1.07 billion) capital injection into the firm this week or next.

At the meeting, likely to take place in September, 30 days after the invite, Oi’s new slate of shareholders will also try to reach a decision on the structure of a new board of directors.

Oi, which declined to comment, buckled under 65 billion reais of debt in 2016, filing for bankruptcy protection. Creditors approved a plan in December in which they would become the company’s top shareholders via a debt-to-equity swap. That conversion process was completed late last week.

By quickly calling a shareholders’ meeting, the firm would show its commitment to rapidly emerge from the bankruptcy process, which has hamstrung the company by limiting capital spending and caused it to lose market share.

A quick reorganization also could help speed up consolidation in Brazil’s competitive telecoms sector.

Analysts and some executives have said Oi could ultimately be acquired by Chinese investors or the local unit of Telecom Italia SpA, though TIM Participacoes SA, as the unit is known, has lately played down that possibility.

Telefonica Brasil SA Chief Executive Eduardo Navarro told journalists last week that his company, controlled by Spain’s Telefonica SA, would consider purchasing pieces of Oi should the firm sell them to cut debt.

While Oi’s new shareholder composition has not been formally announced, Reuters reported in July that a group of seven U.S. hedge funds were set to emerge with about 43 percent of the company. These include Goldentree Asset Management LP, York Capital Management, Solus Alternative Asset Management LP, Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, a vehicle run by Davidson Kempner Capital Management and another run by Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

On Monday, York said in a securities filing it controlled about 7 percent of Oi.

Those funds will play a significant part in electing a new board for Oi, which is governed by a transitional board put in place during the bankruptcy protection process.

($1 = 3.75 reais)

Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Richard Chang

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