Letta watching as Telecom Italia furore continues
'Jobs must stay in Italy'25 September, 18:32
The news outraged politicians of all political stripes concerned about a "sellout" to foreign investors. The operation poses "serious problems for national security", Giacomo Stucchi, the president of the parliamentary committee that oversees the intelligence services (COPASIR), told ANSA on Wednesday. Stucchi said this was because "the Telecom network is the country's most delicate structure via which the communications of Italian citizens pass, including the most confidential ones".
Telecom Italia Chairman Franco Bernabè told the Italian Senate on Wednesday that he learned Telefonica SA was raising its stake in Telco from press releases. "We found out from reading press releases yesterday of the recent amendment to the agreement between the Telco shareholders," Bernabe said. Telefonica's stake in Telco will now be raised to 66%. Telefonica SA is paying 1.09 euros for the Telco shares in the 324-million-euro capital increase.
Its stake is set to rise to 70% with a further capital increase of 117 million euros following approval by antitrust authorities in Brazil and Argentina. It has an option to raise this amount to 100% in January 2014.
However, for the moment, Telefonica only has 46.2% of the voting rights, while Generali has a 19.32% stake with 30.6% of voting rights, and Intesa and Mediobanca have 7.34% each, with 11.6% voting rights.
Meanwhile, Bernabè told the Senate Wednesday that the troubled ex-State monopoly had a choice of two paths to follow in order to avoid the risk of a credit downgrade - a capital increase or the sale of stakes in its Latin American businesses.
While the first option "would restore solidity" to Italy's largest telephone company, the second would not, he said. "We're dealing with an operation that radically redefines the group strategy," Bernabè said of the option of spinning off Latin American operations, which he said would reduce TI to an exclusively national company in a market - Italy - which has suffered severe "erosion" in revenues and profits.
"The sale of Telecom Italia's stakes in Latin America would lead to a major reduction in the group's international profile and its growth prospects and it may not be possible to do it in the short-term in order to be compatible with the need to avoid the risk of a downgrade".