MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s largest phone company, Telecom Italia <TLIT.MI>, is considering a plan to sell assets worth around 2 billion euros (£1.81 billion), including a stake in its separately listed INWIT <INWT.MI> towers unit, La Repubblica daily said on Wednesday.
Telecom Italia (TIM), which controls 60% of INWIT, agreed with Vodafone <VOD.L> in February to study the idea of combining their 22,000 telecom masts in Italy in a single unit.
The INWIT deal merger would involve TIM selling a small stake and also a major refinancing operation that would help TIM to draw a special dividend as well, la Repubblica said. That deal alone could free up 1 billion euros for TIM, it added.
The INWIT plan is part of a three-year strategy forged this year by TIM Chief Executive Luigi Gubitosi to revive the group which is saddled with more than 25 billion euros in debt.
La Repubblica reported that, beyond INWIT, TIM was also looking at selling its data-centre and consumer credit operations, adding that the overall plan could be put to the TIM board on Aug. 1. The disposals should be completed by early 2020, it said.
Gubitosi later on Wednesday denied any plan to sell the group’s data-centre operations.
“There is nothing on the table, we don’t want to sell them,” he said.
Gubitosi said in May that TIM was in touch with five banks over plans to create a joint venture to offer consumer credit services to its clients.
(Reporting by Mark Bendeich and Stefano Bernabei, writing by Giulio Piovaccari; editing by David Evans)