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Shares leap in Italian telecoms firm with Libyan holding

March 7, 2011

By Giulia Segreti and Guy Dinmore in Rome, Published: March 7 2011

Retelit, a small Italian telecommunications company, jumped on the Milan stock exchange on Monday amid reports that the Italian government would freeze a 14.8 per cent shareholding controlled by one of Muammer Gaddafi’s sons.

Mohammed Muammer Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, is reported to be the largest single shareholder in Retelit in his capacity as head of Libya’s state-owned Post and Telecommunications Company. He is number 13 on a list of 20 Libyan individuals whose assets were ordered frozen by the EU on February 28.

Shares in Retelit closed 7.2 per cent up following reports that Italy’s centre-right government would freeze the Libyan stake – worth over €9m — thus preventing a sudden dumping on the market.

Retelit, whose website identifies the Libyan shareholding and has two Libyan board members, declined to comment. Consob, the stock market regulator, said it was waiting for a government decision over a possible freezing.

Government officials had no immediate comment on Retelit but reiterated Italy’s intention to implement EU sanctions. Members of the Libyan opposition have accused Italy, which had fostered close relations with the Gaddafi family, of dragging its feet in freezing regime assets.

Retelit posted a €4.9m loss in earnings before interest and taxes last year. The company says it has an optical fibre network of 6,800 km and offers broadband services to national and international carriers

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