UPDATE 1-Italy flirts again with spin-off plan for Telecom Italia network

jueves 16 de octubre de 2014 13:26 GYT

* Renzi party politician calls for network separation

* Telecom Italia says forcing network spin off is illegal

* Italian newspaper says govt again studying network plan (Recasts, adds Telecom Italia, politicians' comments)

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Any move to force Telecom Italia to spin off its domestic fixed-line phone network would be illegal, the Italian company said on Thursday, as some local politicians revived the idea in a bid to speed up broadband investment in the country.

The former phone monopoly has been criticised for putting off costly upgrades to its copper network and politicians have been calling off and on for a transfer of the business to a state-controlled entity since 2006.

Under pressure from the previous government and in the face of a takeover approach by Hutchison Whampoa, Telecom Italia started talks with Italy's Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) last year to spin off the network and sell a stake in it to the state-backed lender.

But disagreements over who would pick top management positions at the new network company and uncertainty over regulation and the value of the business derailed the discussions.

The idea was revived again on Thursday when a member of the ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called for action to force a network separation.   Continuación...