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TIM Brasil to speed up 3-year investment plan

October 6th, 2009

timTIM Participacoes, Brazil’s third-largest wireless carrier, will speed up its 7 billion reais ($4 billion) investment plan for 2009-2011 to expand voice and data services across the country, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

TIM Brasil, as the Brazilian affiliate of Telecom Italia is known, expects to spend 2.4 billion reais this year on investments, CEO Luca Luciani said at a news conference.

Most of the investment would go to improving data transmission services, which are “fast-growing segments” in the Brazilian telecommunications market, he said.

TIM Brasil will also focus on fast integration of long-distance operator Intelig into its business, Luciani said. TIM agreed to buy Intelig in an all-stock deal worth about $300 million in April, but the transaction is facing legal hurdles.

“We need to sell more data in line with a strategy that focuses on developing our network, integrating Intelig, developing 3G services,” Luciani said.

“We are speeding up those investment plans,” he added.

By accelerating investments and merging Intelig into its core business, TIM should enhance growth and profitability without incurring overhead, he said.

A Sao Paulo state court has blocked Intelig’s purchase until it pays off about $130 million in labor-related liabilities. Asked whether the company would be willing to assume Intelig’s liabilities by trimming the value of the acquisition, Luciani said that “we are considering all possibilities.”

TIM Brasil has “great interest in the asset,” he said.

Common shares of TIM Participacoes rose 1.6 percent to 6.18 reais by Tuesday afternoon. The company’s preferred stock rose 1.5 percent to 4.70 reais. Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal

(editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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