Sirti S.p.A. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Sirti S.p.A.

Via Stamira d'Ancona 9

Company Perspectives:

Sirti: tradition and innovation in telecommunications. Sirti is the I talian leading company in engineering and realization of telecommunic ation networks and systems. The wide experience achieved and the in-d epth technical expertness allow Sirti to provide customers with solut ions of a high technological level in the different segments of telec ommunications and ICT. All those who need a strategic asset, such as a network infrastructure aimed to business development, for instance telecommunication operators both incumbent or newcomers, big public o r private users, such as Public Administration, Railways, Public serv ices providers, great Corporations, find Sirti as the perfect partner able to analyze all problems and propose solutions tailored both on the technological and economic point of view. To achieve these target s, Sirti has set up an operating organization spread on the national territory, ready to timely and effectively react, and that is able to manage the project in the strictest respect of the time scheduled.

History of Sirti S.p.A.

Sirti S.p.A. specializes in developing telecommunications networks an d systems. The company's operations span the full range of services, from design and engineering, to the physical deployment of cable-base d and wireless networks, to their maintenance. Sirti's expertise incl udes fiber optic networks, satellite link base stations, digital tele vision transmission networks, and wireless communications systems. Th e company also builds traffic control networks for highways and railw ays, and electrical power transmission and distribution networks. The company, formerly part of Telecom Italia, remains Italy's leading pr ovider of telecommunications networks, and is also a world-leading sp ecialist in this sector. In the mid-2000s, Sirti's maintenance operat ions oversaw more than 35,000 miles of fiber optic cable, and more th an 2.5 million access lines. Sirti also develops software and provide s software support services for its network operations. Since the 199 0s, the company has worked to reduce its reliance on Italy and Teleco m Italia. The company has operations in Spain, through subsidiary Sei rt, and also operates a subsidiary in Argentina, through which Sirti has established a base for expansion into the rest of the South Ameri can market. The company also has subsidiaries in France and Switzerla nd, and holds stakes in Sirti-branded joint ventures in the United Ki ngdom and Germany. Telecom Italia sold Sirti in 2000 to the Wiretel i nvestment consortium including Techint S.p.A. and Stella Internationa l S.p.A., as well as the Benetton family's 21 Investment, among other s; in 2005, Wiretel sold 69.5 percent of Sirti to a buyout partnershi p involving fellow Sirti shareholders Clessidra SGR and Investindustr ial. Clessidra and Investindustrial have indicated their interest in acquiring full control of Sirti.

Cabling Italy in the 20th Century

Sirti had its origins in the years following World War I, when Piero Pirelli, of the Pirelli industrial empire, and Vitorrio Teschino foun ded a company in order to lay cable and provide long-distance connect ions among Italy's cities. Founded in 1919, the company was formally incorporated as a limited liability company in 1921 under the name So cietà Italiana Reti Telefoniche Interurbane.

Sirti's primary customer was the telecommunications bodies set up und er the auspices of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, and t he Italian PTT later became not only Sirti's only customer, but also its parent company. Sirti's first project was the construction of a t elephone network linking the cities of Milan, Turin, and Genoa. Throu gh the 1920s and 1930s, the company remained a privileged partner of the PTT, responsible for connecting many more of the country's cities into a unified national telephone market. A major project for Sirti came in 1932, when the company deployed a 270-kilometer undersea cabl e connecting the island of Sardinia with the Italian mainland. Sirti also followed the Italian PTT in its operations overseas, becoming a telecommunications infrastructure specialist.

The post-World War II economic boom and the rise in demand for teleph ones in Italy placed Sirti at the forefront of the growing national t elecommunications market. Placed under the national telecommunication s entity, STET, Sirti played a primary role in the modernization of t he country's telephone system, and in turn in the country's moderniza tion in general. During the 1950s, Sirti began developing a new telep hone network combining coaxial cable technology with radio-based wire less technology. Work on the network continued through the 1960s. STE T's position in overseas markets, including its longstanding operatio ns serving the Latin American markets, also gave Sirti continued acce ss to those markets over the next decades.

Nearly all of the company's revenues came from Italy, however, and wa s based on its work for just two customers, SIP and ASST, both parts of STET. The company nevertheless enjoyed steady turnover growth--by as much as 20 percent and more per year into the 1990s--and even post ed double-digit net profit growth. The decision to upgrade Italy's na tional telephone network, replacing the coaxial network with fiber op tic cables, played a large role in Sirti's growth. Launched in the 19 80s and continued into the 1990s, the "Eighties Project," as it was c alled, involved not only the replacement of the country's phone cable s, including across the mountainous regions as well as the submarine lines connecting Sicily and Sardinia to the mainland, but also a netw orkwide upgrade of the country's terminals and related switching and transmission infrastructure for future digital compatibility.

Into the mid-1990s, however, as the Italian government began making p rogress toward the privatization of the country's telecommunications sector, Sirti began a quest for diversifying its operations, both geo graphically and in seeking other areas of operations. As part of the group's effort to expand, Sirti entered a number of new markets durin g the 1990s, including France, Spain, and Germany, as well as the Eas t European market, and, through a subsidiary in Argentina, the South American market. The company supported this effort with the acquisiti on of a number of smaller companies as well as through the creation o f joint ventures. The company entered Portugal, for example, after Sp anish subsidiary Seirt acquired a small company there, broadening Sir ti's reach to the whole of the Iberian peninsula.

As a result of Sirti's internationalization effort, the company reduc ed its Italian revenues to just 83 percent of its total by 1993, and to approximately 70 percent by 1997. Yet Italy remained the group's s ole source of income for much of this time, as its foreign operations , such as Sirti's U.K. operations, set up as a joint venture, struggl ed to gain a foothold in the new markets.

Europe became a natural target for Sirti's expansion. Yet Sirti's abi lity to acquire scale on the continent was hampered by the fact that during the period, Sirti was the only specialist company of its kind. As a result, the company found no acquisition opportunities of a sig nificant size. Instead, the company continued its expansion by organi c growth, as well as completing smaller acquisitions and through esta blishing partnerships. Already in the 1980s, the company had formed a partnership with Olivetti, called Eurolan, which specialized in the development and deployment of local area networks. Sirti also develop ed an expertise in developing network management systems and the cust omized software needed to guide them.

Independent in the New Century

Through the 1990s Sirti's range of operations expanded to include Pol and, where, in 1995, the company won a contract worth ITL 22 billion to install a 1,400-kilometer fiber optic network in Poland. The compa ny also had entered the Middle East, leading a consortium to win a &# 36;100 million contract to construct a fiber optic telephone network in Beirut from Siemens AG. Meanwhile, Latin America, supported by the group's base in Argentina, remained a primary foreign market for the company. By the mid-2000s, Sirti had become active in Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia. Elsewhere, the company completed contracts in Saudi Ara bia, Gabon, Libya, and Egypt.

The Italian government, in the meantime, had been preparing the much- anticipated privatization of the country's telephone monopoly, regrou ped and renamed as Telecom Italia in the mid-1990s. As part of Teleco m Italia's own effort to become a leading global telecommunications p layer, the company began a program of selling off its noncore operati ons, including Sirti.

By 1995, the Italian government had reduced its stake to just 49 perc ent. A first effort to complete the privatization was made in 1997, w hen Telecom Italia began negotiations with the Pirelli group, a deal that would have brought Sirti full circle, as it were. By the end of the decade, however, the two sides were unable to agree and the deal fell through. Instead, Telecom Italia sold its remaining share of Sir ti to a consortium, called Wiretel, led by Techint S.p.A., the Italia n steelmaker, which also had extensive operations in Latin America. O ther members of the consortium included Stella, the Italian timber gr oup, and the Benetton family's investment vehicle, 21 Investimenti.

Under its new owners, Sirti focused its efforts on expanding its oper ations in Italy and Spain, especially. The company recognized the eme rgence of new technologies--such as high-speed and wireless Internet transmission, and the emergence of digital television broadcasting--a nd new markets. One of these was the railway market, which offered a built-in potential for network development. Sirti also expanded into the satellite broadcasting and transmission networks, as well as mili tary network applications.

By 2005, Sirti had successfully shed its former reliance on Telecom I talia and had emerged as a truly independent--and international--comp any. With its sales rising to EUR 456 million ($550 million), up from approximately $100 million at the beginning of the decade, S irti had become a major international specialist in telecoms engineer ing and services. Sirti also had found new owners as it turned toward the mid-century. In 2004, an investment partnership between Clessidr a SGR and Investindustrial agreed to buy Wiretel's 69.5 percent of Si rti. The new majority owners of the company then announced their inte ntion to buy out Sirti's minority shareholders as well. With more tha n 70 years of experience, Sirti prepared to extend its network expert ise into the 21st century.

Principal Subsidiaries: EPlanet S.p.A. (22.85%); Seirt SAU (Spain); Setelco Lugano Fr. (Switzerland); Sirti Argentina S.A.; Sir ti GmbH (Germany; 19%); Sirti Ltd. (U.K.; 20%); Sirti Progett o Reti S.p.A.; Sirti S.A. (France); Sirti Sistemi S.p.A.

Principal Competitors: Bechtel Group, Inc.; Autostrade - Conce ssioni e Costruzioni Autostrade S.p.A.; Eiffage S.A.; Autoroutes du S ud de la France; Telindus Group N.V.; Dycom Industries, Inc.


Additional Details

Further Reference

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: