Italian election favorite wants state lender to take control of TIM

By Giuseppe Fonte and Elvira Pollina

ROME – Far-right Brothers of Italy party, leading polls ahead of next month’s election, calls state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to take control of Telecom Italia (TIM), a party official said on Friday.

under new CEO Pietro Labriola, former telephone monopoly TIM wishes to restructure its activity around the transfer of control of its fixed network to CDP raise funds and reduce debt.

CDP would in turn merge TIMthe network’s assets with those of its smaller rival, Open Fiber. The state lender, which holds a 60% stake in Open Fiber, is also TIM second investor behind the French group Vivendi.

However, Alessio Butti, lawmaker and head of telecoms policy at Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, said in a statement that his party was against any plans to sell TIMits infrastructure.

“We need a different regime that protects TIMworkers, with CDP holding a majority and controlling stake in order to secure the management of the Italian network,” Butti said.

“We are firmly opposed to the proposed sale TIMlandline network,” he added.

Find a long-term solution for TIMThe woes of are a long-standing problem for the company and its stakeholders.

Italy’s biggest telecoms company is struggling with net debt of 24.6 billion euros while facing falling revenues in its highly competitive home market.

The latest plan is to cut thousands of jobs from a national workforce of more than 40,000 people.

Labriola said Thursday that talks on the single network project had not been interrupted by the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government, which paved the way for a snap national election on September 25.

CDP was not immediately available for comment.

In recent weeks, the Brothers in Italy have repeatedly asked CDP stop talks with TIM until a new government is in place.

Under a non-binding pact sealed in May, CDP should submit a preliminary offer for TIMin the coming weeks, with the aim of reaching a final agreement by the end of October, sources said.

Butti said his party was not opposed to the creation of a single high-speed network combining TIMnetwork assets with those of Open Fiber but the party wanted it to be the focal point of TIMoperations are moving forward.

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