Oi Rises Most in Brazil on Merger Speculation as Vale Declines

  • Oi may get $4 billion injection to combine operations with Tim
  • Material producers fall following commodity price drop

Oi SA, Brazil’s biggest phone carrier, rallied the most among the nation’s stocks after saying it was offered a $4 billion capital injection from a Russian billionaire under the condition it merge operations with rival Tim Participacoes SA. The Ibovespa declined.

A gauge of phone shares was the best performer among 10 industry groups as Oi surged as much as 17 percent. Miner Vale SA followed iron ore lower. State-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which is known as Petrobras, fell as a drop in crude dimmed prospects for the company’s offshore investments.

The offer from Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s LetterOne holding company boosted optimism on some Brazilian assets, which have been battered this year amid political turmoil, a widening budget deficit and forecasts for the longest recession since the Great Depression. The currency’s plunge this year, the worst in emerging markets, is making the country’s assets more attractive for overseas investors willing to take risks in a country that was downgraded to junk last month by Standard & Poor’s.

"Some sectors are still very attractive despite the economic crisis," Rafael Ohmachi, an analyst at the brokerage Guide Investimentos, said in a phone interview from Sao Paulo. "Foreign investors are looking for good opportunities."

The Ibovespa retreated 0.8 percent to 47,209.32 at the close of trading in Sao Paulo as 40 of its 63 stocks dropped. The MSCI Brazil/Telecommunications index climbed 3.9 percent. Oi rose 6.1 percent to 3.50 reais, and it bonds due 2021 climbed 5.79 cents to 67.01 cents. Tim shares rose 5.9 percent to 8.57 reais.

Both companies have a combined 44 percent of the Brazilian market, according to data from the market regulator. Tim said in a regulatory filing that there are no talks with LetterOne regarding any possible deal in Brazil.

Vale fell to a one-week low as commodity prices declined. Lenders Itau Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Bradesco SA dropped after economists covering Brazil forecast a deeper contraction for the country. Gross domestic product will contract 3.02 percent in 2015 and 1.43 percent in 2016, according to a central bank weekly survey with about 100 analysts. Previous estimates were for declines of 3 percent and 1.22 percent, respectively.

Brazilian shares have tumbled 19 percent from this year’s peak in May as the government struggles to trim a budget deficit amid a widening corruption scandal that has entangled Petrobras, lawmakers and members of the administration. As President Dilma Rousseff struggles to control the country’s finances, three credit rating companies downgraded the company in the past two months.

After previously targeting a so-called primary surplus, Rousseff’s administration may announce by Tuesday a budget deficit excluding interest payments of as much as 50 billion reais this year, O Globo newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information. That would be the widest on record.

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