Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
CERNOBBIO (COMO)

Telecom Italia chairman says 'industrial project' needed

English
© ANSA

Cernobbio (Como), September 6 - Telecom Italia
(TI) Chairman Franco Bernabe' on Friday said the troubled
telephony giant he heads needs an "industrial project" more than
an "industrial shareholder", and that he sees the possibility of
a new "coalition partner", speaking margins of the annual
Ambrosetti economic conference in Cernobbio, on Lake Como.
Press and analyst reports speculating TI's recapitalization
or possible takeover recently thrust an otherwise languishing
share price this summer, after the telephone giant reported
first half losses of 1.4 billion euros and new legal woes.
Bernabe' has previously denied or refused comment on the
press and analyst reports, but on Friday acknowledged TI sought
a new industrial project, rather than a new source of funds, and
that the project could well include a new - and possibly foreign
- industrial partner.
"The idea that in the beginning that there was - or that
there was a need for - an industrial shareholder has had its
day," said Bernabe'.
"We have already said, a financial stakeholder is not
needed, an industrial project is needed," Bernabe' continued.
"For Telecom, an industrial project is needed which could
have an industrial shareholder, who must have equal dignity.
Telecom is not an object of exchange, purchase or sale,"
Bernabe' explained.
"On the basis of this project, one can see a possible
coalition," Bernabe' added.
When asked if the partner(s) could speak Chinese or
Egyptian Arabic, he said, "Any language is fine, as long as it
is industrial operations".
"Telephony (in Italy) is full of foreigners who have
adapted extremely well. Sawiris has managed Wind with great
success. Hutchinson Whampoa bought H3g and made it grow.
Vodafone is a major operator," Bernabe' said.
The TI chief also cautioned, "Operations performed for
purely financial reasons are not good for the country, industry
or employment growth. I believe that every transaction should be
done with industrial goals and strategic reinforcement".
Bernabe' underlined that Italy's largest phone company and
ex-state monopoly has "huge importance" for the country, and
thus anything it does must be treated with "extreme attention,
respect and attention to the long term interests of the
country".
As recently as Thursday, Bernabe' brushed off rumours of a
hunt for new investors that caused sharp rises in the company's
share price, advising patience until a key board meeting on
September 19.

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