Telefónica gets €200M credit line for BlackBerry phones

Telefónica received a €200 million line of credit from the Canadian export agency to purchase BlackBerry handsets and services.

blackberry z10

BlackBerry Z10

Export Development Canada (EDC) said the financing deal would be used by Telefónica to sell BlackBerry products across the operator's international operations. The deal mimics a similar agreement EDC signed with the Spanish company to buy BlackBerry products as well as equipment from other suppliers in 2006, according to Reuters.

"EDC's financing is really about making the transactions between BlackBerry and Telefónica easier, helping to enhance and broaden the relationship between these two major global players," Lewis Megaw, EDC's regional vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in a statement.

The likely attraction for EDC to offer the credit line is the chance to see Telefónica boost the promotion of BlackBerry smartphones and services across the operator's extensive Latin American markets.

This market continues to show signs of interest for BlackBerry products, and also remains one of the fastest-growing regions for smartphone adoption, according to TechCrunch.

Telefónica in March secured a $1 billion (€770 million) export credit deal to purchase infrastructure equipment from Ericsson. The agreement is backed by two Swedish export authorities.

Separately, Telefónica is considering another round of asset disposals in an effort to reduce its net debt by more than €4 billion this year, said people with knowledge of the matter, according to a Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources.

Telefónica's Irish and Czech business units are said to be under the spotlight, along with the operator's minority holding in China Unicom and investment in Central America, according to the report.  No decisions have been made or financial advisors appointed to structure a sell-off, the report said. The company's net debt, which peaked at €56.3 billion in 2011, is expected to fall below €47 billion this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, an asset manager with FM Capital Partners said Telefónica could raise €1 billion from its Irish and Central American divisions, and another €1 billion by cutting its stake in Telefónica Czech Republic to 50 per cent from 69 per cent. The 5 per cent holding in China Unicom is valued at $1.6 billion.

"They're [Telefónica] under much less pressure than they were nine months ago, and now they're in business-as-usual mode rather than a fire-sale mode," Raymond James Euro equities analyst Stephane Beyazian told Bloomberg. "If they're under the gun, they could sell some bits and pieces."

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this Bloomberg article

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