ZURICH, March 22 Telecoms group Swisscom
has 1.6-1.7 billion Swiss francs ($1.8-$1.9 billion)
available for acquisitions in Switzerland and Italy, the
company's chief financial officer said in an interview published
"When we talk about M&A (mergers and acquisitions) at
Swisscom we look at two countries mainly: Switzerland and Italy.
Smaller companies, especially IT service providers come into
consideration," Mario Rossi told Germany's Boersen-Zeitung.
Given the Swiss government, Swisscom's majority owner, has
imposed a net debt ceiling of 2.2 times earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, Rossi said the
company had firepower for M&A in the range of 1.6 to 1.7 billion
Swisscom is present in Italy through broadband network
operator Fastweb, which it acquired in 2007 for 4.6 billion
Rossi reiterated that Swisscom had no plans to sell Fastweb,
following speculation it could be a target for cash-rich
Vodafone, and said the network operator should make a
positive contribution to Swisscom's free cash flow from 2015.
He said he believed Italy was over the worst of its economic
problems: "We've reached the trough and therefore can expect
some tailwind from the economy."
($1 = 0.8838 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Potter)