Telecom Italia Plans to Be Key Player for Towers Consolidation

Telecom Italia SpA will be a “key player” in consolidating tower assets in Italy, Chief Executive Officer Marco Patuano said after reporting first-quarter earnings.

“I can see a strong wave of value from consolidation and sooner or later this will come,” he said during a conference call with analysts on Friday. “An initial public offering for our wireless towers unit, Inwit, is the right choice and financial multiples in the tower sector show it.”

Telecom Italia is seeking to raise about 730 million euros ($818 million) from an IPO of the unit, which owns about 11,500 sites, people familiar with the matter said in April. The company officially filed an IPO request in March.

“We are considering the sale of as much as 40 percent of Inwit,” Chief Financial Officer Piergiorgio Peluso said on the conference call. Telecom Italia expects to win approval from the regulators this month, and the process to be completed during the summer, Peluso said.

Telecom Italia shares rose 1.2 percent to 1.05 euros in Milan trading at 2:59 p.m., giving it a market value of 19.2 billion euros. The Italian phone carrier reported a slower decline in the first quarter on Thursday.