Spanish telecoms group Telefonica is keen to remain a long-term shareholder in Telecom Italia (TI) and has ruled out selling its stake to cut debt, chief financial officer Angel Vila confirmed to Reuters. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference in Barcelona, Vila said the Italian telecoms group does not need to increase its capital – a clear reference to the recent overture by Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, who has set his sights on acquiring a stake in TI. Last week TI confirmed that it intended to consider Sawiris’ proposal, and had presented some details to its board, although neither side was willing to disclose the size and the objectives of the potential investment. Villa commented: ‘We have not received any offer from Mr. Sawiris, and we are not expecting any offer from him. It seems he sent a letter to the company, so it is up to them to speak’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Telefonica holds a 46.00% stake in Telco, a holding company with a 22.39% stake in TI. Its fellow shareholders are Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca (both 11.60%) and insurer Generali (30.60%).