Telecom Italia (TI) chief executive Marco Patuano (pictured), on announcing full-year 2014 net profit of €1.35 billion – an enormous swing upwards from the €674 million loss posted the previous year – said the firm’s strategy of network investment and debt reduction is “proving to be a winning one”.
“The positive business trend in the first months of 2015, in line with the goals we had set ourselves, also confirms that Telecom Italia is moving in the right direction,” added the TI chief.
The announcement of consolidated net profit figures, which were not included in Telecom Italia’s full-year financial results posted last month, are a welcome prelude to its newly-announced strategic plan for 2015–2017, which includes investments of €10 billion in Italy and more than €4 billion in Brazil.
Under the plan, TI is looking to cover 75 per cent of Italy’s population with its fibre network and 95 per cent with 4G at the end of 2017 (up from 80 per cent at the end of 2014). Some €900 million has been set aside for ‘mobile ultrabroadband’ networks, with €2.9 billion assigned to fixed ultrabroadband.
To help fund its strategic plan, TI launched yesterday an offering of unsecured equity-linked bonds with the aim of raising up to €2 billion ($2.1 billion).
The same day, TI proposed changes in boardroom elections to reduce appointment power of the majority ‘slate’ or group. In a statement, TI said it wanted the slate that wins most votes in shareholder meetings to appoint two-thirds of its board instead of the current four-fifths.
TI’s board had previously been dominated by holding company Telco, which, despite its minority stakeholding, held considerable sway over boardroom appointments.