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Sawiris welcome to invest in Telecom Italia, says official

Italy’s deputy industry minister, Antonio Catricala, said today that Italy has no objection to an investment in Telecom Italia by Egyptian mogul Naguib Sawiris.

Late last week, Sawiris said that he was conditionally interested in investing in Telecom Italia, and Catricala told reporters that if Sawiris were prepared to put funds in the business, he would be welcome to invest.

“Investors who bring money are welcome,” Catricala said.

Sawiris owns Egypt’s Orascom, and last week he told local reporters that he would invest in Telecom Italia on two conditions: “that Telefónica exits and that Telecom Italia does not sell Brazil [TIM Brasil].”

Telefónica is thought to be eyeing Telecom Italia’s TIM Brasil but Sawiris said that it would not be good for the Italian company to do so.

“It does not make any sense to me, because it will reduce the carrier to a regional company only focussed on Italy,” Sawiris said.

Telefónica made moves to increase its stake in Telecom Italia last September, and in December, Brazilian antitrust watchdog Cade told the company it must exit its direct and indirect stake in TIM Brasil.

In November 2012, Sawiris made an unsuccessful bid for a stake in Telecom Italia.

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