Telecom Italia’s boss has again scotched rumours his firm is set to merge with Spanish rival Telefonica.
CEO Franco Bernabe told journalists he was happy with the current relationship between the pair, during a briefing to announce finalised 2009 results yesterday, according to Spanish news-site Expatica.com.
The question was raised after Telecom Italia used that briefing to lower its revenue forecasts for the next three years, after reporting a €74 million drop in net income to €1.3 billion in 2009.
Speculation that a merger is in the cards intensified in February when it emerged that Telecom Italia’s major shareholders were considering a tie-up with Telefonica, as one of several options to boost the Italian firm’s flagging performance.
Prior to that, Italy’s government denied it had approved a merger on condition Telecom Italia’s fixed-line business remained under Italian control, following reports in the domestic press.
Telefonica is a majority shareholder in Telco, a holding company that has a controlling 22.4% stake in Telecom Italia, which gave it an indirect 7.21% stake in the Italian carrier at end-2009