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BRASILIA Jan 6 Brazilian telecommunications
watchdog Anatel said on Friday it has authorized representatives
appointed by minority shareholder Société Mondiale to return to
the board of struggling wireless carrier Oi SA.
The agency said the participation of Société Mondiale's
board members is conditional on the presence of representatives
of the regulator at meetings of the company, which filed for
Brazil's biggest-ever bankruptcy protection in June.
Anatel in November temporarily suspended two Oi board
members appointed by Société Mondiale, which owns 7 percent of
the carrier's voting stock, on suspicions they had participated
in meetings and influenced decisions affecting the carrier
without the regulator's permission.
"Oi's situation and importance warrant the presence of
Anatel at its board meetings," Carlos Baigorri, Anatel's
competition superintendent, said. He added that the presence of
an Anatel representative may last until the end of the company's
Anatel's stance underscores mounting government pressure on
shareholders to find a solution for Oi's debt problem as the
company is the only carrier providing service in more than a
third of Brazilian cities.
Oi's preferred shares rose 0.88 percent in early
afternoon trading in São Paulo while the benchmark Bovespa index
fell 0.83 percent.
Talks with creditors and at least one prospective bidder are
underway after Oi's bankruptcy filing to restructure 65.4
billion reais ($20.4 billion) of bank, bond and regulatory
Société Mondiale's Demian Fiocca and Helio Costa were
confirmed by Anatel as Oi board members while Blener Mayhew and
Nelson Tanure were named as substitutes, according to the
Anatel also approved Luis Manoel de Macedo and and José
Manoel da Silva as substitute board members appointed by Pharol
SGPS, Oi's majority shareholder with 27.5 percent of
the voting stock.
($1 = 3.2005 reais)
(Reporting by Leonardo Goy; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by
Jeffrey Benkoe and Meredith Mazzilli)