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Telefonica receives $257 million credit line for Blackberry phones

A BlackBerry salesperson displays a BlackBerry Z10 during the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone in Mumbai February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Vi
A BlackBerry salesperson displays a BlackBerry Z10 during the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone in Mumbai February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Vi

MADRID (Reuters) - Telefonica, Europe's biggest telecoms operator by revenue, has received a 200 million euro ($257 million) financing facility from the Canadian export agency to buy BlackBerry smartphones and services.

Export Development Canada (EDC) said the credit line to Telefonica would be used to provide BlackBerry products and services across Telefonica's international operations.

Telefonica operates in more than a dozen fast-growing Latin American markets as well as its depressed home market of Spain and other European markets.

BlackBerry's iconic devices, often used by business people, once dominated the smartphone market. But in recent years the company has suffered as phones powered by Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems have eaten away at its market share across the globe.

Government export credit agencies tend to support big deals that involve exports to emerging economies and provide a boost to local manufacturing. EDC provided financing for Telefonica to buy equipment from BlackBerry as well as other suppliers in 2006.

Telefonica secured a $1 billion credit line from Sweden's export agencies last month to buy infrastructure from Ericsson.

"EDC's financing is really about making the transactions between BlackBerry and Telefonica easier, helping to enhance and broaden the relationship between these two major global players," Lewis Megaw, EDC's regional vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in a statement.

In a bid to reinvent itself and claw back market share, BlackBerry launched a wholly re-engineered new line of devices powered by its new BlackBerry 10 operating system this year.

The first of these, a touchscreen device dubbed the Z10, is already on sale in over 25 countries across the globe. A new device with BlackBerry's traditional physical keypad is set to begin hitting store shelves later this month.

($1 = 0.7783 euros)

(Reporting by Clare Kane in Madrid; Additional reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

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