Colombian govt accelerates Movistar stake sale plans

12 Dec 2017

The Colombian government has accelerated its plans to dispose of its 32.5% stake in Telefonica Colombia (Movistar), El Economista reports, and is now in the process of identifying a bank to manage the sale. It is understood that Telefonica Group is not interested in raising its own 67.5% stake in the operator, meaning that the government has to identify an outside investor to take its place.

The stake sale was prompted by July’s COP4.8 trillion (USD1.6 billion) joint fine, which was levelled at Movistar – and rival Claro – for breaching the terms of their original 1994 licences. The two mobile operators were required to return all wireless network infrastructure to the state after a ten-year period (subsequently extended for a further ten years), but failed to do so. As the co-owner of the cellco, the government was duly obliged to participate in a capital increase of approximately EUR1.37 billion (USD1.64 billion) to pre-pay all commitments in relation to PARAPAT, the consortium that owns the telecoms assets and manages the pension funds of the former companies that resulted in the creation of legacy operator Colombia Telecomunicaciones (ColTel, now Telefonica Colombia).

Colombia, Telefonica, Telefonica Colombia (Movistar)