March 11, 2015

NTV to increase capital and buy new trains?

Written by  Marco Chiandoni
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FOLLOWING recent discussions between the board of Italian open-access high-speed operator NTV and trade unions, the operator has hinted at several reforms to achieve its goal of breaking even by 2020, including a capital increase of €70-100m and the purchase of six to 10 new high-speed trains.

The company's new CEO Mr Flavio Cattaneo, who took on the role on February 26, has made it a priority to tackle the company's €675m debt through a new 2015-2020 development plan.

However, in his first public announcements, he says this will not be at the expense of the company's current workforce. All employees are subject to a contract of solidarity, which foresees a 9% cut in wages, but to avoid job losses NTV is proposing a 20% cut and is currently negotiating the terms of this with unions.

While NTV appointed financial advisors Lazard to draw up restructuring plans for its debts in 2014, rumours have emerged in the Italian press recently that Mr Cattaneo could take a 2-3% stake in the company and that SNCF, which holds a 20% stake in NTV, could partially withdraw its interest.

Increasing NTV's service offerings is part of the strategy to boost revenues and its balance sheet. The company has confirmed that it plans to issue a tender for new high-speed trains. However, the terms of this tender are yet to be made public. NTV has also taken to TV to advertise its services and is currently engaging in a social media public awareness campaign.

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