Bloomberg News

Portugal’s Ongoing May Invest in Brazil Education, Chairman Says

September 14, 2011

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Ongoing Strategy Investment SGPS SA, the second-biggest shareholder of Portugal Telecom SGPS SA, is looking to invest in education in Brazil to help meet demand from a growing middle class, Chairman Nuno Vasconcellos said.

“We’ve been working for some time on a long-distance education project,” he said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. Brazil’s economic growth and the government’s emphasis on improving the country’s levels of schooling provide “a good opportunity for people to start investing in education in Brazil.”

Ongoing Strategy’s 10 percent stake in Portugal Telecom, the second largest after Banco Espirito Santo SA, gives it an indirect holding in Oi, Brazil’s largest fixed-line company. It also owns the O Dia newspaper and business daily Brasil Economico in the country.

The Portuguese investment firm aims to invest in education in Latin America’s largest economy, where 25 million people escaped poverty and 36 million moved into the lowest rung of the middle class over the past decade, according to researchers at the Rio de Janeiro-based Getulio Vargas Foundation.

Ongoing Strategy said in July it plans to spend 350 million euros ($479 million) in three years to expand outside Portugal. The focus is on Portuguese-speaking countries, mainly Brazil, as about two-thirds of the world’s Portuguese speakers are there, Vasconcellos said.

He declined to give details about possible education investments. Ongoing is also seeking investments in China, Vasconcellos said.

“There isn’t a business lunch I have where I don’t come up with a business proposition on the table” in Brazil and China, he said. “It’s not like this in Europe or in the United States.”

Portugal Telecom bought 25.3 percent of Brazilian carrier Telemar Norte Leste SA, which operates under the Oi brand, in March.

--Editors: Marie-France Han, Darren Boey

To contact the reporters on this story: Fabiola Moura in New York at fdemoura@bloomberg.net; Jim Silver in New York at jsilver@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Francisco Marcelino at mdeoliveira@bloomberg.net; Brad Skillman at bskillman1@bloomberg.net


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