Brazil’s Oi Swallows Competition and Eyes Telephone Market Overseas

Telemar Oi Brazil's Telecommunication Company Oi's president, Luiz Eduardo Falco, upon confirming the purchase of control over Brasil Telecom (BrT), said that  US$ 30 billion reais ( US$ 13.2 billion) will be invested in the new company over five years.

The aim is to expand the number of customers from the current 53 million to 110 million, of which 30 million should be obtained in foreign countries. Oi was previously known as Telemar.

Despite having disbursed 5.3 billion reais ( US$ 2.3 billion) for control over BrT, in a negotiation process that lasted throughout the whole of last year, Falco did not rule out the possibility of new purchases in the sector. "New purchases are not out of our radar, but we must check our cash commitments."

He also stated that at this moment of global crisis, good offers may arise. The executive said that there is no credit crunch. "There is credit available, only it is more expensive. Oi has always obtained credit and should continue obtaining it, here and abroad," he said.

Falco has already assumed the presidency of the new company, whose brand is going to be Oi. He said, however, that the process of integration of Oi with Brasil Telecom should last around 18 months.

"We are going to spend a hundred million in the integration process," he informed. At the end of that period, he expects to save 1 billion reais (US$ 440.8 million) with the synergy between the two companies.

Falco said that he is going to individually evaluate each of the BrT products that are strong in the market, so that they can be maintained. Concerning each one of them, especially the IG internet provider, there already seems to be a favourable trend for the continuation of operation.

As Falco explained, Oi wants to seek internationalization in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Portuguese-speaking African countries. He revealed that the new company will be based in Rio de Janeiro. Three directors at BrT will be members of the board at the new company: Luiz Perrone, who will take over the area of Foreign Affairs; Francisco Santiago, who should be the director of Operations; and Jorge Jardim, in the area of Institutional Relations.

ABr

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