TI COO admits that network spin-off is ‘interesting’

17 Sep 2012

Telecom Italia’s (TI’s) chief operating officer Marco Patuano has admitted that the idea of spinning off its fixed line network had become ‘interesting’, while also confirming that talks with a state-backed financing body over potential collaboration on joint broadband projects is now under way. Patuano told Reuters: ‘There is a dialogue that continues. The possible separation of the access network into another company is an option that both [Telecom and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti] are looking at with interest’. 70% of the share capital in Cassa Depositi e Prestiti is owned by Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, while the remaining 30% is held by assorted banking organisations.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in April 2012 TI CEO Franco Bernabe admitted that the company was seriously considering spinning off its fixed line network in a bid to relieve its mounting debt pile and boost fibre-optic investments. He told the press: ‘It is one of several studies we have conducted to identify the best solutions to increase Telecom’s value. If a [spin-off] creates a more favourable regulatory environment, it is a hypothesis that we could take into consideration’. Media reports valued the network infrastructure at around EUR15 billion (USD19.7 billion), although it remains unlikely that the entire network would be divested, with TI only estimated as needing around EUR4 billion to cut debt and complete the rollout of its nationwide fibre-optic network.

Italy, Telecom Italia (TIM)