Canadian pension fund CDPQ to invest up to $317 million in Brazil fiber network with Telefonica

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian unit of Spanish telecom Telefonica SA said on Tuesday that it had agreed with Canadian pension fund CDPQ to create a joint venture to develop a “neutral and independent” wholesale fiber optic network in Brazil.

According to a securities filing, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) will invest up to 1.8 billion reais ($317 million) in the venture, receiving a 50% voting share. Telefonica Brasil will have a 25% voting stake, while Telefonica Infra, another subsidiary of the Spanish company, will have the remaining 25% share.

The new venture, called FiBrasil Infraestrutura e Fibra Ótica S.A., aims to reach 5.5 million households within 4 years.

Telefonica will be an “anchor customer” for FiBrasil and contribute some 1.6 million homes already in service.

Telefonica Chief Operating Officer Angel Vila said last week that the company was in talks with an investor to expand high speed fiber coverage to more Brazilian cities, following a similar project in Germany with insurer Allianz. Vila had not named the investor in the Brazil project at the time.

($1 = 5.6761 reais)

Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Christian Plumb