Telecom Italia plans to sell stake in Vodafone’s Italian, tower, tie-up, CEO

FILE PHOTO: Alitalia special commissioner Luigi Gubitosi speaks during a news conference at the Alitalia headquarters in Rome, Leonardo Leonardo Leonardo Leonardo Leonardo da da da da da Vinci Vinci Vinci Vinci Vinci-Fiumicino airport, Italy-May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Telecom Italia (TIM) plans to sell a stake in its mobile-mast business to the creation, in Italy, with arch-rival Vodafone in the infrastructure, funds of the Italian group, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The two companies agreed in July with the merger of their Italian mobile assets under INWIT company, which is currently 60% owned by TIM. The deal is pending the outcome of the European Union’s anti-trust approval and is expected to decline in the first half of the 2020s, INWIT’s chief executive, said last week.

After the deal, TIM, and Vodafone will each have a 37.5 per cent shareholding in the enlarged INWIT, but they have agreed that they will together be able to reduce their respective holdings to a minimum of 25%.

“We would like to have the sale of a stake in its infrastructure fund,” to TIM, Chief Executive, Luigi Gubitosi told the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media and Telecoms conference in Barcelona, spain.

Due to the current low yields in the bond markets, there is a large pool of investments, to move to an alternative investment and, therefore, the infrastructure funds have a lot of money,” he said.

The communication towers have long been popular with institutional investors because of their stable cash flows.

The deal between Telecom Italia and Vodafone, highlights the increasing appetite among operators to share or sell a share of their own infrastructure, to help reduce the debt, and the cash and cash equivalents available for investment in the roll-out of next-generation 5G networks.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Additional reporting by Elvira Pollina in Milan; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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