Telecom Italia beats its own debt-reduction target

14 Feb 2003

Telecom Italia has announced that operating profit for 2002 rose by 11% on the previous year to EUR7.4 billion, on the back of an increase in mobile revenues and cost-cutting measures implemented at its fixed line business. Consolidated revenues declined by 1.3% to EUR30.4 billion because of asset sales and weaker currency exchange rates, particularly in Latin America; the company claims that allowing for these factors sales were up 3.8%. Net debt fell last year from EUR21.9 billion to EUR18.1 billion, a slight improvement on its EUR18.3 billion year-end target. Telecom Italia also reduced the number of group companies from 714 to 416 during the twelve months as a result of the streamlining of its corporate structure. Significant events in the fourth quarter of the year included trials of public Wi-Fi access via W-LAN, which began in December; Telecom Italia claims to have been the first telecoms operator in Italy to roll out Wi-Fi for ADSL on private premises in July last year. The company’s Servizi Wholesale Internazionali (SWI) division was transferred to its TMI Italia subsidiary, which was itself subsequently rebranded Telecom Italia Sparkle. Telecom Italia Sparkle’s worldwide network comprises 360,000km of undersea cable linking Italy with 240 carriers in 220 countries, in addition to 18,000km of cross-border network in Europe. The infrastructure carried over ten billion minutes of voice traffic in 2002.