* The ministers send letters while Enel holds the top business plan
* Italy wants Open Fiber to join TEAM’s landline network (Remodel, add details, background)
ROME / MILAN, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Italy told top utility Enel on Monday that it should remember in every sale of its stake in broadband group Open Fiber that plans to create a nationwide ultra-fast network are an urgent issue and cannot be done. postponed.
Enel, which jointly controls Open Fiber with state lender CDP, accepted a binding offer from Macquarie Australia in September for all or part of its 50% stake.
But Rome, which is looking to combine Telecom Italia’s incumbent landline network with Open Fiber, has pressed the fund to buy less than 50% so that CDP can take control.
In a letter to the water utility’s top management, the economy and industry ministers said the plan to create an integrated broadband infrastructure that is independent of the TIM and open equally to all market participants is of strategic importance for Italy.
Sources with knowledge of the matter said Rome wanted Enel to ensure CDP had control over Open Fiber if the utility sold its stake.
“Any terms of sale must conform to the government’s blueprint for creating a network,” said the source.
Enel CEO Francesco Starace is expected to read the minister’s letter to Enel’s board which meets on Monday to approve the company’s new business plans.
Enel declined to comment.
CDP, which has the first right to refuse Enel’s shares if it is sold, has asked to increase its stake to 60%, sources said, in a move that would give Macquarie the option to buy the remaining 40%.
The government is pressing Enel to stick to its plan, but wants Starace to guarantee Macquarie’s offer does not contain conditions that could conflict with the blueprint.
Macquarie’s bid, which values Open Fiber at more than 7 billion euros ($ 8.3 billion) including debt, contains a series of terms including acquisition clauses.
State-controlled Enel did not sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) ratified by TIM and CDP in August, which sets out a road map for the creation of an integrated fast broadband network.
TIM said it wanted to retain a majority stake in one network operator but Starace said such infrastructure should remain outside the control of the incumbent vertically integrated with major retail businesses.
Enel held a board meeting on December 17, said people with knowledge of the matter. ($ 1 = 0.8442 euros) (Reported by Giuseppe Fonte and Stephen Jewkes, Edited by Timothy Heritage)