Telecom Italia plan for revamped business is sustainable, minister says

MILAN (Reuters) -Telecom Italia’s (TIM) business plan for the new company emerging from the sale of the former phone monopoly’s fixed line network is sustainable, Italy’s Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said on Thursday.

Shares in the former phone monopoly plunged last week after TIM unveiled its three-year strategy and outlook for the business emerging after the network sale to U.S. fund KKR, piling pressure on TIM Chief Executive Pietro Labriola.

Backed by the Italian government and worth up to 22 billion euros ($24 billion), the deal is opposed by TIM’s top investor Vivendi, which has questioned the sustainability of the remaining business and is fighting the sale in court.

“We believe the project presented in the business plan is absolutely sustainable”, Urso said during a press conference at the end of the G7 industry summit in Verona.

In a separate statement, KKR said it is pressing ahead with preparatory activities for the buyout of TIM’s network and working with other parties towards the summer 2024 timeframe for finalising the deal, which is subject to European Union antitrust authorisation.

“The preparatory activities….are advancing well in cooperation with the TIM management team,” a spokesperson for the U.S. fund said.

“All parties are still working against the summer 2024 timeframe¬†for¬†closing.”

($1 = 0.9186 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Giuseppe FonteEditing by Keith Weir)