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BellSouth to Offer Latin America Group Stock

Telecom: A major player in the region, the phone giant wants to raise $1 billion for expansion and general use.

March 30, 2000|From Bloomberg News

ATLANTA — BellSouth Corp., the largest wireless-service firm in Latin America, said Wednesday it plans to sell as much as $1 billion of a tracking stock reflecting the performance of operations in the region.

The company, also the No. 4 U.S. local-telephone company, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell an unspecified number of Latin America Group common shares. The group will use the proceeds for continued expansion and for general corporate purposes.

The group serves 10 Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Peru, with a total population of 176 million. It has sought to provide services such as Internet access, wireless data services, long-distance calling and wireless pay phones amid increasing demand.

Tracking stocks let investors value the performance of a unit separate from the parent, without ownership in the entire company.

BellSouth rose $2 to close at $47.13 on the New York Stock Exchange. The tracking-stock IPO also could boost the Atlanta-based company's shares, which have gained less than 1% this year. Some analysts say the shares don't reflect BellSouth's investments in fast-growing Latin markets.

BellSouth's assets include Brazil's second-largest cellular phone company, BCP Telecomunicacoes, as well as Movicom, a wireless phone business in Argentina. It controls most of Telcel, Venezuela's largest cellular company. In Peru, it controls BellSouth Peru.

The regional group had operating revenue of $2.4 billion and cash flow of $556 million for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, the SEC registration statement said.

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