Labriola: “The Tim network will be sold, we will also defend ourselves in court”
The operation to unbundle the network and sell it to Kkr is proceeding smoothly, despite possible resistance from Vivendi, Tim’s main shareholder. Tim’s CEO, Pietro Labriola, in a long interview with Mf/Class CNBC, appears confident that the operation will be successful and could lead to a significant transformation for the Italian telecommunications company. In the third quarter, Tim reported positive results with an increase of EBITDA in Italy for the second consecutive quarter, demonstrating that the company is following the right direction. However, rising debt costs are putting a strain on the company, and Labriola explains that to cover the interest on the debt, a significant increase in revenues would be necessary, which is complex in a telecom market like the Italian one.
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This brings up the topic of spinning off the network, a topic that has been on the table of Tim’s board for nearly twenty years. Labriola points out that the company’s financial situation has worsened significantly in recent years, making the sale of the network an inevitable choice. There the question of resistance from Vivendi is addressed by Labriola, which insists on the need for constructive dialogue between all interested parties. He clarified that the network spin-off plan was approved unanimously by the board of directors, including Vivendi, in July 2022. Labriola hopes that a solution can be found soon through dialogue.
Read also: Tim, revenues growing to 4.1 billion (+3.7%). Losses reduced by almost 60%
Labriola also faces criticism regarding the failure to consult the shareholders’ meeting and the related parties committee. He explained that everything was done in accordance with Italian laws and corporate governance rules. As for the concern of entrusting a strategic asset such as the network to foreign entities, Labriola assures that mechanisms exist such as the golden power and the commitment of the Italian government to guarantee the Italian nature of control of the network. Finally, Labriola discusses the company’s future and highlights that cutting debt will make ServiceCo sustainable. Rating agencies are evaluating a possible improvement in the rating of Tim, and Labriola believes the company will continue to improve its credit profile in the medium term.
Tim’s CEO also shares his views on consolidation in the telecommunications industry and the importance of balancing the market. The issue of employment of Tim’s employees during the operation is discussed by Labriola, who reassures that tools such as early retirement and other measures will be used to preserve employment. Labriola ends the interview by stating his willingness to remain in office to complete the operation and underlining the patience needed to face the challenges of the telecommunications.
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