Spanish state considers stake in Telefonica as stc stake under review

Spanish state considers stake in Telefonica as stc stake under review

telefonica sign.jpg

SEPI (Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriaes) made the announcement on Tuesday.

Following news in September that Saudi Arabian state-owned telecom operator stc had built a 9.9% stake in Spanish operator Telefonica, a Spanish state fund has said it is considering whether to buy its own stake.

Telefonica is considered a defence service provider by the Spanish government, and as such any stake between 5-10% is subject to review.

Capacity reported later in September that certain individuals within government had called for the stc stake acquisition to be blocked, including acting labour minister Yolanda Diaz.

“We cannot allow the operation to continue. Telefonica manages the most important thing in our lives – data.” Diaz told reporters.

Acting Economy Minister Nadia Calvin confirmed the Spanish authorities would condct a thorough evaluation before approving stc’s stake.

Stc built a stake worth 2.1 billion euros ($2.23 billion) through shares and convertible financial instruments in a move that came as a surprise to the Spanish.

Despite the sceptisim from the government, other shareholders in Telefonica welcomed stc’s interest.

Spanish bank, BBVA, has a 4.87% stake.

"From a financial perspective, it is great that investors are showing interest in a company of such importance of Telefonica," CEO Onur Genc said in response to the news, but refused to comment on SEPI’s plans.

Genc said BBVA had no plans to increase its stake. The same is true for Caixabank, who own a 3.5% stake and agreed that capital coming into Spain was good news.

Gonzalo Gortazar, CEO of Caixabank said “"Very particularly, we have to see what possibilities (Telefonica) has to cooperate with this great company (stc), due to its size and relevance”.

Gortazar also revealed that Caixabank would seek to express its views on the matter at board-level discussions.

STC, has not yet requested authorisation exercise the voting rights it is entitled to from its 9.9% stake, which includes 4.9% equity and 5% financial instruments that give it economic exposure to the company.

Stc has however revealed that it has no plans to acquire control or a majority stake in the operator.

Gift this article