Italy wants answers from Libya on UniCredit stakes
* Italian foreign ministry has written to Libya -Treasury
* No answer from Libya so far -Treasury
MILAN, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The Italian government has asked Libya to clarify the nature of the stakes held by its sovereign wealth fund and central bank in Italy's biggest bank, UniCredit (CRDI.MI), but has so far received no answer, the Treasury said.
The move adds pressure on Tripoli to show its hand after Italian market watchdog Consob and the Bank of Italy requested more information about the stakes, and some politicians voiced concern that Libya might raise its holdings even further.
Libya's sovereign wealth fund took a 2.075 percent stake in UniCredit in late July, joining the Central Bank of Libya as a top shareholder.
The two Libyan investors combined have a stake of just under 7 percent, and bank rules bar a shareholder from having a voting stake of more than 5 percent.
In a response to a question by a parliamentarian over the Libyan holdings, the Treasury said the foreign ministry had written to Libyan authorities to help Consob with its investigation.
Consob itself had on Aug. 26 asked both shareholders to clarify whether their stakes should be considered separate, whether there is any agreement between them, and whether they intend to buy more shares in UniCredit, the Treasury said.
"To this date, no answer has been received," the Treasury said, according to the text of its response posted on the lower house's website late on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, UniCredit mandated its chairman to look into the possible governance impact of the stake-building by Libyan shareholders, and he is due to submit his findings on Sept. 30.
UniCredit CEO Alessandro Profumo has also said the bank will ask the Libyans investors to provide evidence that they are independent shareholders.
The issue has triggered concern among politicians from the federalist Northern League, which is part of the centre-right ruling coalition of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and has links to some shareholder foundations. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this