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IPO could be on the cards for Telefonica in Argentina

IPO could be on the cards for Telefonica in Argentina

Telefonica is considering whether to launch an IPO for part of its Argentinean unit, as well as exploring network sharing arrangements with other operators in the market.

The Spanish-headquartered group is looking to write down debts of around €50 billion, and is aiming to capitalise on Argentinean President Mauricio Macri’s push to attract overseas investment in Argentina. The country is South America’s second largest economy.

Listing on the stock exchange could be an attempt by Telefonica to secure its position against new legislation that will allow operators to offer bundled fixed and mobile tariffs along with internet and television services. The suggested policy changes are intended to increase competition in both the wireless and broadcast sectors.

The framework could come into effect as early as next year, and was met with hostility by Telefonica upon its announcement in January. The operator considered a legal challenge to stymie the new communications guidelines, claiming that holding a fresh spectrum auction to encourage new market entrants was a “violation of the most basic rules of equality.”

Telefonica’s debt is substantial enough that credit agency Moody’s last year forecast that it would be lucky to hit its December 2017 debt reduction targets.

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