Telecom Italia Posts First Profit Since 2010 on Broadband Sales

Telecom Italia SpA posted its first annual profit since 2010 as Chief Executive Officer Marco Patuano focuses on more-lucrative faster broadband services and reducing debt at the country’s largest carrier.

Net income was 1.35 billion euros ($1.44 billion) last year, compared with a 674 million-euro loss in 2013, the Milan-based company said in a statement on Thursday. The average estimate compiled by Bloomberg from 12 analysts was for profit of 1.41 billion euros. Telecom Italia posted preliminary results last month.

Patuano, seeking to lift Telecom Italia out of junk status, has sold assets to cut net debt, which stood at 26.7 billion euros at the end of 2014 -- more than its 20 billion-euro market capitalization. The carrier last month said it plans to buy out its Telecom Italia Media SpA business, ending more than a decade of the unit being publicly traded.

“The positive trend of our business in the early months of 2015 is in line with goals we previously set and shows the company is on the right path,” Patuano said in the statement.

Telecom Italia predicted improving operating performance in Italy and Brazil. It proposed a dividend of 2.75 cents a saving share, for a total of 166 million euros.

Telecom Italia stock, which had gained 24 percent this year, fell 0.2 percent to 1.095 euros in Milan at 4:11 p.m.

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