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"Covenants" and "negative pledges" at June 30, 2020

08/05/2020 - 04:15 PM

Bonds issued by the TIM Group do not contain financial covenants (e.g. ratios such as Debt/EBITDA, EBITDA/Interest, etc.) or clauses that result in the automatic early redemption of the bonds in relation to events other than the insolvency of the TIM Group([1]); furthermore, the repayment of the bonds and the payment of interest are not covered by specific guarantees nor are there commitments provided relative to the assumption of future guarantees, except for the full and unconditional guarantees provided by TIM S.p.A. for the bonds issued by Telecom Italia Finance S.A. and Telecom Italia Capital S.A.

.Since the bonds were placed principally with institutional investors in major world capital markets (Euromarket and the U.S.A.), the terms which regulate the bonds are in line with market practice for similar transactions effected on these same markets. Consequently, they carry negative pledges, such as, for example, the commitment not to pledge the company’s assets as collateral for loans.

With regard to loans taken out by TIM S.p.A. with the European Investment Bank (EIB), at June 30, 2020, the nominal amount of outstanding loans amounted to 850 million euros, not secured by bank guarantees.
The two EIB loans signed on December 14, 2015 and November 25, 2019 are subject to the following covenants:

  • in the event the company becomes the target of a merger, demerger or contribution of a business segment outside the Group, or sells, disposes of or transfers assets or business segments (except in certain cases, expressly provided for), it shall immediately inform the EIB which shall have the right to ask for guarantees to be provided or changes to be made to the loan contract, or, only for certain loan contracts, the EIB shall have the option to demand the immediate repayment of the loan (should the merger, demerger or contribution of a business segment outside the Group compromise the Project execution or cause a prejudice to EIB in its capacity as creditor);

  • TIM undertook to ensure that, for the entire duration of the loan, the total financial debt of the Group companies other than TIM S.p.A. – except for the cases when that debt is fully and irrevocably secured by TIM S.p.A. – is lower than 35% (thirty-five percent) of the Group's total financial debt;

  • "Inclusion clause", under which, in the event TIM commits to uphold financial covenants in other loan contracts (and even more restrictive clauses for the 2015 direct risk loan, including, for instance, cross default clauses and commitments restricting the sale of goods) that are not present in or are stricter than those granted to the EIB, the EIB will have the right – if, in its reasonable opinion, it considers that such changes may have a negative impact on TIM's financial capacity – to request the provision of guarantees or an amendment of the loan contract in order to establish an equivalent provision in favor of the EIB;

  • "Network Event", under which, in the event of the disposal of the entire fixed network or of a substantial part of it (in any case, more than half in quantitative terms) to third parties not controlled by the Company, or in the event of disposal of the controlling interest in the company in which the network or a substantial part of it has previously been transferred, TIM must immediately inform the EIB, which may then opt to demand collateral or an amendment of the loan contract or choose an alternative solution.

The loan agreements of TIM S.p.A. do not contain financial covenants (e.g. ratios such as Debt/EBITDA, EBITDA/Interests, etc.) which would oblige the Company to repay the outstanding loan if the covenants are not observed.

The loan agreements contain the usual other types of covenants, including the commitment not to pledge the Company’s assets as collateral for loans (negative pledge) and the commitment not to change the business purpose or sell the assets of the Company unless specific conditions exist (e.g. the sale takes place at fair market value). Covenants with basically the same content are also found in export credit loan agreements.

 In the Loan Agreements and the Bonds, TIM is required to provide notification of change of control. Identification of the occurrence of a change of control and the applicable consequences – including, at the discretion of the investors, the establishment of guarantees or the early repayment of the amount paid in cash or as shares and the cancellation of the commitment in the absence of agreements to the contrary – are specifically covered in the individual agreements.
In addition, the outstanding loans generally contain a commitment by TIM, whose breach is an Event of Default, not to implement mergers, demergers or transfers of business, involving entities outside the Group. Such an Event of Default may entail, upon request of the Lender, the early redemption of the drawn amounts and/or the annulment of the undrawn commitment.

 In the documentation of the loans granted to certain companies of the Tim Brasil group, the companies must generally respect certain financial ratios (e.g. capitalization ratios, ratios for servicing debt and debt ratios) as well as the usual other covenants, under pain of a request for the early repayment of the loan.

 Finally, as at June 30, 2020, no covenant, negative pledge or other clause relating to the debt position, had in any way been breached or violated.

([1]) A change of control event can result in the early repayment of the convertible bond of TIM S.p.A., as further detailed below.