Portugal Telecom is unlikely to offload its African assets if a planned merger with Brazilian operator Oi goes ahead, a senior Informa Telecoms & Media analyst says.
Marceli Passoni notes Africa and Brazil are key markets for Portugal Telecom, offering the European carrier the best opportunities for growth relative to its stagnating domestic operations.
The view runs contrary to that of IHS analyst Julian Watson, who last week predicted Portugal Telecom would be “open to offers” for its African operations if the 7 billion Brazilian Real (€2.3 billion) deal with Oi goes ahead.
Both analysts agree the deal is likely to be passed by Brazilian antitrust authorities, with Passoni noting Portugal Telecom is already a shareholder in Oi. She predicts further benefits for Oi in its home market, including greater clout with handset makers and infrastructure vendors, and Portugal Telecom’s market expertise.
“PT previously owned 50% of Telefonica’s Brazilian mobile subsidiary Vivo and has operations in other markets. The other stakeholders at Oi are basically investment groups, without telecoms market knowledge, which are more interested in rapid capital gains,” Passoni says.