Telecom Italia says no plans to hike capital

Telecom Italia denied plans to ask shareholders for more funds after a key investor said the company could be forced into a capital hike, pushing shares to a one-year low, a Dow Jones report said.

'Telecom Italia is not studying any plan for a capital increase,' Telecom Italia's chairman Gabriele Galateri was quoted by a spokesman as saying.

Shares in Italy's largest telecoms operator were hit hard after core shareholder Gilberto Benetton, whose family is one of the controlling investors in Telecom Italia, told Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore in an interview that the Benettons could exit the company if they weren't satisfied by strategy developments later this year.

Benetton also said Telecom Italia would sooner or later be forced to seek fresh funds from investors, the Dow Jones report said.

The stock fell more than 6% in early trading to a one-year low at €1.12 and was down 4.2% at €1.16, in an overall slightly positive market.

Benetton wasn't available to comment on the issue.

The Benetton family is a core investor in holding company Telco, which controls Telecom Italia with a 24.5% stake. Telco was created by Spanish giant Telefonica, Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca, insurer Generali and the Benetton holding company, the Dow Jones report further said.

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