Sawiris says still interested in Telecom Italia

lunes 29 de septiembre de 2014 15:38 GYT

By Georgina Prodhan

FRANKFURT, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris would invest in Telecom Italia as long as the company kept its stake in Brazilian mobile operator TIM Participacoes, he said on Monday, as foreign bid interest picks up in the struggling operator.

"We have not lost interest," said Sawiris, who had a 3 billion euro ($3.8 billion) offer to buy a stake in Telecom Italia rejected in 2012.

"This company needs two things: one -- a capital increase and two -- a desire to expand or improve," Sawiris told Reuters by telephone, making clear he would not be interested if Telecom Italia sold its stake in TIM.

He said he would be prepared to take part in a capital increase but would not buy shares in the market.

Earlier this year, Sawiris said Telecom Italia needed 3 billion to 4 billion euros to reduce its debt and allow for possible investments. He declined on Monday to say how much he would be prepared to invest.

Telecom Italia has been forced to regroup after losing out to Telefonica in a $9 billion bidding battle for Vivendi's telecoms business in Brazil, GVT.

Burdened with more than 27 billion euros of net debt, in need of cash to carry out costly network upgrades and lacking a clear direction, Telecom Italia has again turned from hunter to potential prey, several investment bankers have told Reuters.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that U.S. businessman Sol Trujillo was seeking to raise as much as 7.5 billion euros to bid for a stake in Telecom Italia.   Continuación...