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Telecom Italia Said to Seek $4 Billion Five-Year Credit Facility

Telecom Italia SpA, the country’s biggest phone carrier, is seeking to extend 3 billion euros ($4 billion) of a credit line a year early, according to three people with knowledge of the deal.

The company wants the five-year loan to replace part of an 8 billion-euro credit line due August 2014, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. Marketing of the deal will start this week, they said.

The Milan-based business joins Telefonica SA of Spain, Italy’s Enel SpA and EDP-Energias de Portugal SA in seeking a forward-start facility this year. Under a forward start, borrowers lock in financing terms before existing debt matures.

Telecom Italia extended 4 billion euros of the same loan last year in another forward-start deal, paying 250 basis points more than the euro interbank offered rate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company paid interest of 22.5 basis points more than Euribor in 2007 when it increased the facility by 2 billion euros, the data show. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

A Telecom Italia spokesperson, who asked not to be named citing company policy, declined to comment.

The company is rated Baa2 by Moody’s Investors Service and BBB by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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