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Serious errors and views that are deliberately misleading in the article published in ''La Repubblica'' entitled ''Consob Spotlight on Telecom Accounts''

05/29/2001 - 12:00 PM

Telecom Italia wishes to make clear that the article published in today´s edition of "La Repubblica" entitled "Consob Spotlight on Telecom Accounts" by Giovanni Pons contains serious errors and views that are deliberately misleading.

Specifically, the article is both untrue and seriously damaging to Telecom Italia´s good name and that of its management when it refers to the acquisition by Telecom Italia of approximately 50 million ordinary shares in its subsidary company TIM, claiming that Chairman Roberto Colaninno had ´´never revealed" the existence of such an operation. In fact, the Company, in the First Half 2000 Report, on pages 61, 65, 78, 108, 161 and 162, provided full information on the operation and on both its financial effects and those on the company´s balance sheet and capital structure. Further, the operation was also referred to in the report for the period to 30 September 2000 on pages 33, 37 and 45.

What is more, the Half Year Report explains the financial effects arising from the value adjustment to market prices of the TIM ordinary shares held in the trading portfolio (page 76 of the Half Year Report for the period to 30 June 2000), applying an accounting principle used for subsequent accounting situations. It is clear that the author of the article did not think it necessary to consult either the official documents that have been available for months, or the Telecom Italia press office to obtain these documents and seek any eventual supplementary explanation which might have avoided his publishing such seriously inaccurate assertions.

With regard to the acquisition of Seat Pagine Gialle by Telecom Italia - as has already been officially communicated by the Company - Chairman and CEO Roberto Colaninno and Board Member Emilio Gnutti, at the moment when this transaction was approved on 15 March 2000, both informed the Board of their potential conflict of interest and in absolute coherence with the applicable rules, abstained from voting on the relevant item, which was then approved by all other Board members.

As for the matter of Mr Lorenzo Pellicioli´s compensation arrangements following the acquisition of Seat Pagine Gialle, the facts on this were made known to the market from last summer and communicated by the companies concerned in the form of paid official notices in a number of daily newspapers, as well as being the subject of specific press articles. In these it was made clear that the compensation arrangements were triggered by contractual mechanisms agreed at the time of Seat´s privatisation and which long pre-dated the acquisition by Telecom of its controlling interest in Seat.

In relation to the resignation from the Telecom Italia Board of Avvocato Angelo Benessia, Chairman Roberto Colaninno, in making this public, referred exclusively to the contents of the letter sent by Avvocato Benessia to the Board of the Company, in which he communicated his intention to resign from the Board and in which absolutely no mention was made of the matters referred to in the article.

As concerns stakes held in Globo.com and Jet Multimedia, the Board has decided not to adjust the value of these holdings in its books since they form part of the medium term development plan for the Telecom Italia Group. As such, at the present no durable reduction in value can be registered in relation to these investments.

Finally, in relation to the short, anonymous article relating to purchases and sales of shares of the Telecom Italia Group during the course of the year 2000 by Roberto Colaninno, Emilio Gnutti and Ettore Lonati, these transactions are completely transparent and described in full in the Company´s accounts. Given this, the views expressed in the article, and its gratuitously sarcastic and offensive tone, seem designed only to insinuate and to encourage unjustified suspicions and unfounded concerns.

For these reasons, the Company reserves the right to take all the necessary steps in defence of its rights with the relevant bodies.