In what will be its last earnings report before it is fully merged with Olivetti, Telecom Italia [NYSE: TI] has revealed that sales for the first half of 2003 fell by 1% compared to the same period of 2002 to EUR14.81 billion. Operating profit for the six months ended 30 June 2003, however, grew by 8% to EUR3.95 billion. The merger between Telecom Italia and Olivetti, announced in March, is set for completion over the next fortnight, with the resulting company taking the Telecom Italia name, ending Olivetti’s 95 year history.
In the first half of the year Telecom Italia completed divestments of EUR4.3 billion; in particular it sold its 29% stake in Telekom Srbija to PTT Srbija for EUR195 million. The company has opted to strengthen its hand in the German market, however, announcing the planned acquisition of 100% of HanseNet from e.Biscom for EUR250 million. HanseNet, a broadband operation based in Hamburg, will form part of Telecom Italia’s wireline business unit.