Italy's state holding company CDP favours single telecoms network plan


ROME/MILAN, Feb 2 () - Italy's state holding company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) supports the idea of creating a single broadband network, CEO Fabrizio Palermo said on Saturday.

Open Fiber, controlled by CDP and Italy's biggest utility Enel, started two years ago to build a fast fibre network in the country after Rome accused incumbent Telecom Italia (TIM) of acting too slowly to upgrade its ageing copper network.

But the populist government which took office in June thinks a single network would be more efficient, although Economy Minister Giovanni Tria has said it was a matter for private companies to decide.

CDP, controlled by the Italian Treasury, has a 50 percent stake in Open Fiber and around 5 percent of TIM.

Daily La Repubblica reported earlier on Saturday that TIM and Open Fiber had signed a non-disclosure agreement that could include initial moves towards merging the two companies' network assets. The report did notgive further details.

A source close to the situation said the agreement, which was signed earlier this week, is a continuation of a commercial accord signed in November by Open Fiber and TIM's previous chief executive Amos Genish.

The source did not know if this new agreement included any additional measures.

TIM and Open Fiber both declined to comment.

Open Fiber CEO Elisabetta Ripa said on Thursday her company was happy to consider possible synergies with TIM through commercial or co-investment agreements. But she added that it was up to shareholders to speak about corporate issues.

TIM CEO Luigi Gubitosi said this week in an interview with Corriere della Sera daily that the former telecoms monopoly is ready to discuss commercial accords, co-investments and a possible network combination with Open Fiber.

Enel CEO Francesco Starace said on Friday he was glad that TIM and Open Fiber were eventually "sitting at a table" and that he had called for this to happen for three years.

Writing by Giulio Piovaccari

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world's media organizations, and directly to consumers at and via Reuters TV.

Learn More