MILAN/SAO PAULO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Latin American fibre
optic network company Ufinet, owned by Enel and
private equity firm Cinven, has made a non-binding
offer for the fibre unit of Brazil's Oi, two sources
familiar with the matter said.
As part of its restructuring plan to exit bankruptcy
protection, The Brazilian telecoms company aims to sell up to
51% of fibre infrastructure unit InfraCo to fund its expansion.
Ufinet, a wholesale operator of fibre telecoms networks, has
more than 70,000 kilometres (43,500 miles) of optical cable
networks in Latin America, including Brazil.
Enel, Europe's biggest utility, owns 21% of the company but
has joint control with Cinven, which owns the remainder. Enel
has options expiring end-2021 to take full control.
"The deal makes sense for Enel since it has grid assets in
Brazil and can leverage the fibre-optic network," a banker close
to the matter said.
Enel, which has placed digitalisation at the heart of its
strategy, is one of the biggest foreign power grid operators in
South America where it also has green energy operations.
In Italy it owns half of Italy's Open Fiber which is rolling
out fast broadband across the country.
Besides Ufinet, an infrastructure fund managed by Banco BTG
Pactual SA and Highline do Brasil, a portfolio company of U.S.
private equity firm Digital Colony, are also among the bidders
for Oi's fibre unit, sources said.
A report by Brazil's Exame this week said any InfraCo deal
could involve an overall layout of 11.5 billion reais ($2.2
billion), including a capital increase.
Enel and Cinven declined to comment.
($1 = 5.3315 reais)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan and Carolina Mandl in Sao
Paulo, editing by Louise Heavens)