Libya mulls Telecom Italia investment
Rome, October 25, 2008
Libya is considering investing in Telecom Italia, its ambassador to Italy told Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, and could ask for a deputy chairman's post at UniCredit bank, where it is now a top shareholder.
Sources close to the matter have told Reuters Libya might be a possible investor in Italy's former telecoms monopoly.
Last month, Italian newspapers suggested a price for the investment of 1.6-1.7 euros per share. "It's being weighed up," Hafed Gaddur said in comments published by Il Sole 24 Ore on Saturday.
"We talked about it a while ago and I think the price proposed was considered too high. Then when prices came down we restarted the valuation," he added.
Shares in the company, which has 37 billion euros ($46.57 billion) of debt, closed at 0.863 euros on Friday, giving it a market capitalisation of about 15.7 billion euros.
Last week, Libyan Central Bank governor Farhat Omar Bin Guidara said the former colony was making diverse investments in Italy, Europe and the United States.
It has taken a 4.9 per cent stake to become the second-biggest investor in UniCredit, which is looking for 6.6 billion euros in funds to shore up capital ratios, including a 3 billion euros capital increase.
Gaddur said the UniCredit investment amounted to 1.3 billion euros. Asked whether Libya might seek to nominate a deputy chairman for Italy's second-biggest bank, Gaddur said "Why not? We would in any case be proposing someone of a high standing, well able to carry out a prominent role."
Il Sole 24 Ore said UniCredit's foundation shareholders were likely to meet this week to discuss the Libyan stake and the make-up of the board.-Reuters