BRASILIA Oct 4 Brazil's telecommunications
industry watchdog Anatel should redouble attention to carrier Oi
SA, which filed for bankruptcy protection in June, the agency's
new president said on Tuesday.
The government bodies involved in Oi's in-court
reorganization should coordinate their actions to help the
carrier emerge from creditor protection and renegotiation of
65.4 billion reais ($20 billion) of debt, Juarez Quadros,
Anatel's new president, said at his confirmation hearing before
Congress in Brasilia.
A coordinated stance could help "avoid dissent among the
different entities" dealing with the carrier's woes, said
Quadros, a former Brazilian communications minister. Senators
later confirmed his nomination as head of Anatel.
His remarks suggested that the stakes are high in Brazil's
largest ever in-court reorganization. Oi, Brazil's No. 1
fixed-line carrier, employs some 140,000 people and is the only
phone company in 1,800 Brazilian towns, or about one-third of
the nation's 5,500 municipalities.
Rio de Janeiro-based Oi owes Anatel and state lenders Banco
do Brasil SA, Caixa Econômica Federal SA and BNDES a
combined 20 billion reais, making the government the carrier's
No. 2 biggest creditor after bondholders.
On Sept. 2, Reuters reported that Anatel as well as state
banks which are Oi creditors were not openly acting together but
instead coordinating actions aimed at helping Oi maintain
service quality and emerge from creditor protection in an
Preferred shares in Oi shed 1.7 percent to 2.82 reais on
Tuesday in the São Paulo Stock Exchange.
($1 = 3.2559 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Leonardo Goy; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by
Guillermo Parra-Bernal and David Gregorio)