T.Italia shareholders mull capital increase

Business Materials 17 February 2008 02:00 (UTC +04:00)

(Reuters) - Telecom Italia's main shareholders are considering a capital increase to shore up the finances of the embattled phone group, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Saturday.

Spanish group Telefonica, Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca, and insurer Generali, control Telecom Italia through a holding company called Telco.

Telefonica declined to comment. The others were not immediately available for comment.

On Friday, Telecom Italia shares fell as much as 7 percent to 2003 lows after UIL union leader Paolo Pirani said Chief Executive Franco Bernabe had told unions at a meeting in Rome that the group's debt would not decline rapidly.

Traders in Milan had also mentioned rumours of a possible capital increase or dividend cut as reasons for the shares' fall. They ended down 4.6 percent at 1.82 euros.

Telecom Italia denied on Friday reports it discussed its debt, dividend policy and a possible capital increase in the meeting with unions in Rome and said it was considering legal action.