Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has refuted speculation that it is considering floating its British mobile subsidiary following suggestions that it may do so having completed a share sale at its German unit. Cited by Bloomberg, O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne noted: ‘I’m very focused on the local market … There is no need to IPO other businesses other than the Latin American business, which [parent company Telefonica] have signalled they’re looking at.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, at the end of October 2012 Telefonica listed a 23.17% stake in its German unit on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, raising over EUR1.4 billion (USD1.79 billion) to cut its debt burden. Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported that Telefonica was aiming to reduce its net debt to around EUR50 billion by the end of 2012, with CFO Angel Villa cited as claiming that the group had raised more than EUR4 billion via restructuring and asset sales/flotations in recent months, helping to reduce debt from EUR56 billion at September 2012 to around EUR52.8 billion by early November. Alongside the German IPO, Telefonica has also recently divested its call centre operations, Atento (October 2012), while in June it agreed to reduce its stake in China Unicom from 9.57% to 5.01%, selling its shares to Unicom Group for a total of HKD10.963 billion (USD1.41 billion).