October 3, 2017 / 7:55 PM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Italy's state lender may invest in Telecom Italia if Rome asks

(Adds chairman comment, background)

ROME, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) could invest in Telecom Italia if Rome asked it to by exercising so-called golden powers, its chairman said.

Rome has launched a process against Telecom Italia (TIM) for failing to notify it that its largest shareholder Vivendi had assumed de facto control of the company, which is considered a strategic asset.

Vivendi denies its 24 percent holding has given it effective control, while TIM says it did not have to notify Rome.

There has been speculation in Italy that CDP, which owns 50 percent of rival broadband group Open Fiber, may be called on to buy a stake in Telecom Italia to protect strategic interests.

CDP Chairman Claudio Costamagna told La7 TV on Tuesday that the state lender’s investment in Open Fiber remained a priority.

“But if the government asked us to enter Telecom by exercising the golden power, we would look at it to see if it was advantageous or not,” he said.

Politicians have been calling on and off since 2006 for TIM’s prized telecom network to be transferred to a state-controlled entity to create a neutral platform.

TIM and Open Fiber, which is jointly controlled by CDP and utility Enel, are building competing fast networks.

“Open Fiber is doing a job that is very important for our future,” Costamagna said.

Italy’s Industry Minister said in a newspaper interview on Saturday Italy would decide by the end of October whether there were grounds to use special powers. (Reporting by Stefano Bernabei; Writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Isla Binnie and Alexander Smith)

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