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Telefonica transfers shares of Peru unit to LatAm co

By Ursula Scollo

LIMA (Reuters) - Telefonica SA said on Tuesday it transferred about half of the shares of its Peruvian unit to its Latin American holding company in an internal deal worth $1.5 billion.

The move is part of a broader plan, which the Spanish telephony giant said this month it was considering, to list up to 15 percent of the firm that groups together its Latin American assets from a dozen countries.

The potential listing of the company, called Telefonica Latinoamerica Holding SL, could generate cash to pay down $7.8 billion in debt.

The Peruvian unit's shares rose 10 percent to 2.3 soles in heavy volume.

Telefonica's emerging market assets now often outperform its units in mature markets in sluggish Europe.

($1=2.56 soles)

(Additional reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Peter Galloway, Andrew Hay and David Gregorio)

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