Telecom Italia shares volatile on uncertainty over strategy

MILAN, Sept 26 Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:24am EDT

MILAN, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Shares in Telecom Italia fell more than 2 percent before turning positive in morning trade on Thursday on uncertainty over the debt-laden company's strategy following a deal earlier in the week to give Telefonica gradual control of its Italian rival.

"The governance framework is still quite uncertain because it is not clear whether the positions expressed by its chairman (Franco Bernabe) are backed by the company's board," ICBPI analyst Stefano Vulpiani said in a note.

Bernabe said on Wednesday said the company needed a capital increase to prevent its rating being downgraded to junk, while asset sales - an option seen as favoured by Telefonica - may take too long. The company's five independent board members - out of a total of 14 - also said they were against the sale of assets, such as those in south America.

The analyst said a 5 billion-euro ($6.75 billion)recapitalisation would allow Telecom Italia to keep its investment grade credit rating and bring its net debt to 2.2 times core earnings. ($1 = 0.7403 euros) (Reporting by Danilo Masoni)

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