Telecom Italia CEO reiterates commitment to TIM Brasil

Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano continued to stress that its Brazilian unit is an important asset for the company and said there are no discussions over selling the business.

"There has been no offer or even discussion about the sale of TIM Brasil," Patuano told reporters after meeting with Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo in the capital, Brasilia, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Patuano added that TIM Brasil would invest 4 billion Brazilian reais (€1.2 billion/$1.7 billion) this year and 11 billion reais over the next three years. Telecom Italia's board of directors also recently approved a procedure to "manage any extraordinary transactions" involving its Brazilian business.

There has been intense speculation over the future of TIM Brasil since Telefónica unveiled plans to increase control over Telecom Italia via the Telco shareholder group, which owns 22.4 per cent of the Italian operator. The two operators are fierce rivals in Brazil, where Telefónica runs a competing business under the Vivo brand.

It has been speculated that the Spanish operator could force a sale of TIM Brasil to strengthen Vivo. Telefónica is now under pressure from Brazilian regulators to resolve these potential conflicts of interest in the country.

Patuano also noted that Vivendi-owned fixed-line operator GVT and TIM Brasil have "complementary positions", although he said no discussions are underway over a merger between the two companies.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)

Related Articles:
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Telecom Italia seeks third way over Brazil, as rebel investor gains support
Telecom Italia rebel shareholder won't give up fight to keep Brazil unit
Telefónica denies involvement in Tim Brasil breakup plan

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