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Telecom Italia sells Argentine holdings for $960 mn

Proceeds from major telecom sale to be used to pay down debt

14 November, 11:44
Telecom Italia sells Argentine holdings for $960 mn (ANSA) - Milan, November 14 - Telecom Italia has signed an agreement to sell its controlling interest in Telecom Argentina to the Fintech Group for $960 million, the Italian company announced Thursday.

Proceeds from the sale to Fintech, which had been rumoured for several days, will be used to pay down debt at Telecom Italia. The deal will see Fintech paying $859.5 million for Telecom Italia's 68% stake in the Argentine company, plus another $100.5 million for technical support from TIM for three years.

Telecom Italia has said it wants to raise four-billion euros over the next several years to pay down debt and avoid a credit-rating downgrade.

The announcement comes just one day after Italian finance police and officials from market regular Consob inspected Telecom Italia offices in Rome and Milan on the heels of a series of significant financial decisions by the company.

Inspectors were following up on a major meeting last Thursday of the board of directors of Telecom Italia, including its decision to sell its unit in Argentina and the possible sale of a bond issue worth about four billion euros.

Some investors are concerned about Telecom Italia's financial plans.