Oi Drops to Record Before Pricing Shares in Capital Increase

Oi SA, Brazil’s biggest phone company, sank to a record low as it prepared to price shares in a capital increase that’s part of its merger with Portugal Telecom SGPS SA.

The shares slumped 5.6 percent to 2.37 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo. Brazil’s Ibovespa stock benchmark was little changed. Oi’s common shares, which carry voting rights, lost 0.4 percent to 2.52 reais.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company is poised to move ahead with its merger with Portugal Telecom by completing a share sale today to raise at least 7 billion reais ($3.12 billion). The carrier has surpassed the minimum it needed from the capital increase, two people with direct knowledge of the deal told Bloomberg News on April 25.

Demand for Oi’s stock offering could lead to a price of more than 2 reais a share, the people said, asking not to be identified because the terms aren’t public. The price will be defined today.

“Every time a company issues new shares, the stock falls so the pricing will be lower,” Pedro Galdi, the chief analyst at brokerage firm SLW Corretora, said by phone from Sao Paulo. “Once the transaction is completed, the shares will stabilize, and then it’s a whole new chapter.”

Investor Interest

Investors are showing interest in the deal with the shares down 44 percent since Oct. 1, the day before the merger was announced. The 7 billion reais doesn’t include the fund of 2 billion reais that Grupo BTG Pactual SA, the lead underwriter, is raising, and the number would be higher if the demand from smaller retailer investors were included, one of the people said.

Oi has said it plans to sell as many as 5.75 billion shares, with the possibility of an additional offering of 20 percent and an overallotment of 15 percent, according to company filings.

BTG Pactual and 13 other banks involved in the transaction are attempting to attract a target of 8 billion reais to inject capital into the company and help pay off 4.5 billion reais in debt held by its controllers, Telemar Participacoes SA. The full amount raised is expected to reach about 14.1 billion reais, including 5.75 billion reais in assets contributed by Portugal Telecom.

Oi Chief Executive Officer Zeinal Bava is counting on the transaction to help pay off Telemar’s debt so its shareholders, which include the Jereissati and Andrade-Gutierrez families and government pension funds, will relinquish control of the company. That will let Oi revamp its structure so that every shareholder will have an equal vote.

A BTG press official declined to comment on the share offering. Oi’s press office also declined to comment, citing a silent period during the share sale.

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