(Recasts with move for shareholder action rejected, adds comment from Telecom Italia, background)
MILAN, March 27 (Reuters) - Businessman Marco Fossati, whose family business holds a 5 percent stake in Telecom Italia , said on Wednesday that the company has rejected his request to put before shareholders measures that he says would help revive the telecoms group and boost its share price.
Fossati’s Luxembourg-based Findim said in a statement that Telecom Italia’s chairman, Franco Bernabe, had rejected its request to discuss corporate governance changes and possible measures to support the company at the company’s April 17 shareholder meeting.
Fossati, who is not part of the Telco investor group that controls Telecom Italia, said the company needed new strategy and possibly new management to avert risks of a takeover or a capital hike at a deep discount.
He said the stock could benefit from opening up the capital to investors outside of Europe, provided they do not take a controlling stake.
Fossati sought to have his requests included in the official shareholder meeting agenda, but Bernabe said in a letter dated Wednesday that governance issues could not be part of shareholders’ deliberations.
In the letter, emailed to the media as an attachment to Findim’s statement, Bernabe said Fossati’s demands were “legitimate” and could be discussed as part of a broader debate over the company’s results.
Fossati said Telecom Italia’s results in the last six years had been disappointing, and repeated failure to meet targets and dividend erosion have caused the market to penalise the stock, which has fallen to 0.60 euro per share from 2.20 euros in 2006.
“We are certainly not satisfied, no one is satisfied,” Fossati said in his request to Telecom Italia.
Shares in Telecom Italia fell more than 3 percent on Wednesday to levels last seen in July 1997 amid investor concerns over its debt.
The former telecoms monopoly, which aims to cut net debt to below 27 billion euros ($34.51 billion) by end-2013, has cut its dividend and turned to costly hybrid securities to help fund network investments as domestic margins remain under pressure.
Telecom Italia is 22.4 percent controlled by holding company Telco, whose investors comprise Telefonica, and Italian financial institutions Mediobanca, Intesa Sanpaolo and Assicurazioni Generali.
$1 = 0.7824 euros Reporting By Danilo Masoni; editing by Leslie Adler