Tim and CDP want to hurry and deny the Cassandras who speak of a long and bumpy journey. The single network will be born no later than the first quarter of 2021 and the first step has already been taken with the green light, unanimously, given to the creation of FiberCop and the signing of a letter of intent with CDP Equity to achieve the wider single national network project (AccessCo) through the merger between FiberCop and Open Fiber, a single company for a strategic infrastructure. “A path is underway to overcome the digital divide and restore competitiveness to the country”, comments the president of CDP, Giovanni Gorno Tempini, who highlights “the role of Cassa, a patient investor” like “when together with Enel he launched Open Fiber “.
“The signing of the memorandum represents the first important step – explains CEO Francesco Palermo – towards the creation of a single digital infrastructure in ultra-broadband, which will guarantee equal access to all operators, speed, reliability and widespread distribution”. With the aim of completing the fiber coverage plans in the black and gray areas of the country and accelerating the adoption of Ultra-Broadband (UBB) services, the future single network will be open to other operators and asset contributions: Tiscali has already joined by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Tim to define the terms of a strategic partnership and now provides for immediate launch, under the coordination of Cdp Equity, a technical table to collect other adhesions to the co-investment and reach by 2025, 76% of the units real estate in the gray and black areas, corresponding to a coverage of 56% of the technical real estate units in the country, all in Ftth. The new company, of which TIM will hold 58%, KKR Infrastructure 37.5% and Fastweb 4.5%, was valued at € 7.7 billion (equity value € 4.7 billion).
FiberCop is expected to have an EBITDA of around € 0.9 billion and positive EBITDA-CAPEX starting from 2025 and will not require equity injections from shareholders. Tim will be the sole supplier for the construction and maintenance of the networks and will provide additional services to FiberCop which will have a lean structure with less than 100 employees. The operation will accelerate the shift of customers from copper to fiber and will contribute to reducing the digital divide. “This is the kick-off for a new phase in the telecommunications sector” comments Alberto Calcagno, CEO. by Fastweb. “We remain Tim’s fierce competitors on services but we are committed in a direct and important way to the development of infrastructures” concludes Calcagno. AccessCo’s backbone is also confirmed: Tim will hold at least 50.1% of the company in the single network and, through a shared governance mechanism with Cdp, the company’s independence and impartiality will be guaranteed. There are also mechanisms of qualified majorities and preventive control rules.
Among the nodes to be covered there is the valuation of the assets destined to flow into AccessCo – and the related shares in the company. At work there will be the advisors (Rotschild and Vitale will continue to support Tim, according to what is learned) who will start the related due-diligence processes on FiberCop and Open Fiber. Prior to the merger, Tim is expected to transfer an additional business unit to FiberCop consisting of the primary network functional to FiberCop’s operational activities. The due diligence process is expected by the end of the year in order to reach a possible merger agreement no later than the first quarter of 2021.