MILAN — Telecom Italia (TIM) is considering selling its stake in mobile tower group INWIT to French investment fund Ardian as part of its efforts to shore up its finances, a source close to the matter said on Wednesday.
La Repubblica reported on Wednesday that the Italian phone group is thinking about a balance sheet clean-up because its 2021 results will be worse then expected.
The Italian daily said TIM is set to book new one-off provisions and asset impairments as part of 2021 results and will also scrap dividends on ordinary shares. The results are due to be published next week.
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La Repubblica added the phone company was in advanced talks with Ardian to sell its indirect stake in INWIT. A source later confirmed to Reuters that TIM was considering selling.
La Repubblica also said, citing analysts, that TIM could fetch 1.4 billion euros from the sale.
INWIT’s shares were up 1.3% few minutes after trading started, while TIM’s shares were down 0.7%.
TIM owns 51% of a group called Daphne, which in turn controls a 30% stake in INWIT. In 2020 a consortium led by Ardian bought the remaining shares in Daphne, getting also a pre-emption right on TIM’s stake.
Britain’s Vodafone owns a 33% stake in INWIT.
INWIT had a market capitalisation of 8.63 billion euros at Tuesday’s closing prices.
Telecom Italia and Ardian declined to comment.
New TIM boss Pietro Labriola is working on a standalone plan to be presented to investors next week as an alternative to a 10.8 billion euro approach from U.S. group KKR.
Last year the phone group issued three profit warnings on its 2021 results. (Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Andrea Mandalà, editing by Maria Pia Quaglia and Keith Weir)
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