April 2, 2018 / 12:01 PM / a year ago

Telefonica starts process to list Argentine unit on stock exchange

FILE PHOTO - The logo of Spain's Telefonica is seen on its headquarters outside Madrid, February 25, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Telefonica (TEF.MC) has begun the process to eventually list its Argentine subsidiary on the Buenos Aires stock exchange, a move aimed at raising funds as the group seeks to extend its fiber optic network and cut debt.

The Spanish telecommunications company said in a recent filing to the Argentine market regulator that it had called a shareholder meeting on April 16 to approve the listing. The unit is valued at around 4.7 billion euros ($5.8 billion), including debt, according to Barclays.

The Spanish company was analyzing options to increase the value of its asset portfolio, including that of Telefonica Argentina, a Telefonica spokeswoman said, but declined to give further details.

Telefonica’s debt stood at 48.6 billion euros at the end of December, down 1 billion euros from three months earlier thanks to improving cash flow and the company has pledged to reduce its debt pile further this year.

Reporting by Andres Gonzalez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Sonya Dowsett and Susan Fenton

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