Telefonica COO Says O2 IPO Would Be 'Questionable' Before Brexit

Date : 11/14/2018 @ 6:29PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Telefonica Sa (TEF)
Quote : 8.8  0.25 (2.92%) @ 5:06PM

Telefonica COO Says O2 IPO Would Be 'Questionable' Before Brexit

Telefonica (NYSE:TEF)
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By Adria Calatayud

 

Listing Telefonica SA's (TEF.MC) O2 brand in the U.K. before Brexit would be "questionable" for shareholders given current uncertainty surrounding Britain's departure from the EU, the parent's Chief Operating Officer Angel Vila Boix said Wednesday.

The Spanish telecommunications company continues to monitor the situation as it awaits a window of opportunity to launch an initial public offering of its U.K. arm, Mr. Vila Boix said at a Morgan Stanley conference in Barcelona.

Telefonica tried to sell O2 to CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. (0001.HK), but the EU blocked the deal on competition concerns in 2016. The company has been considering an O2 IPO since then, but has repeatedly postponed those plans.

The company is also assessing potential asset sales, as it seeks to cut net debt which stood at 42.64 billion euros ($48.0 billion) as of Sept. 30.

"We don't need to rush to do any transactions because of debt levels," Mr. Vila Boix said. The company has consistently reduced debt over the last quarters, he said.

Telefonica's Chief Financial and Control Officer Laura Abasolo said the company could potentially look at exiting some markets or sell assets to complement its efforts to lower debt. However, growing free cash flows will remain the company's main debt-reduction driver, Ms. Abasolo said at the conference.

 

Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayudvaello@dowjones.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 14, 2018 13:14 ET (18:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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