PHONE | The government is investing more than 2000 million in Telefónica and already exceeds 9% of the shares.

The government does not stop escalating the shareholding telephone and is now approaching its goal of becoming the largest shareholder. State Society for Industrial Participation (SEPI)A publicly traded holding company affiliated with the Treasury is accelerating its purchase of shares in the telecom company and has confirmed that it controls more than 9% company shares, after investment more than 2 billion Euroin order to protect the Spanish ownership and autonomy of the telecommunications group and to counteract the entry of Saudi Arabia into the shareholding of the Spanish group.

SEPI told the SEC, the US stock market watchdog, that it already owned more than 512 million shares of the telecommunications company.specifically a representative of 9.038% of capital- what did he pay for average price 4.0177 euros per sharewhich assumes the total payout so far 2.059 million euros. Telefonica’s rise in the stock market is quickly making government operations more expensive, already well above the average price of 4 euros per share.

The capital reduction through share depreciation carried out by Telefonica to improve remuneration of its shareholders also did little to speed up the government’s escalation and its establishment as the operator’s main shareholder. The company has reduced the total number of shares, so shareholders automatically increase their shareholdings.

The Ministry of Finance has so far only officially admitted that it has allocated budgetary injections of 1 billion euros to SEPI for the purchase of Telefónica shares. But the market assumes that transfers from government accounts to the state holding will continue until it reaches its target of reaching 10% of the company’s capital.

In December, the Council of Ministers approved a major move and authorized SEPI to buy a 10% stake in the company to protect the company, which it considers strategic due to its links to national security and defense, thereby confirming the state’s return to a stake in the telecommunications company a quarter of a century after it complete privatization. This was the government’s response to Saudi Arabia’s entry into Telefonica and its intention to become the group’s largest shareholder with a 9.9% stake, announced last September.

Joining the council

The government has already joined Telefonica’s board of directors. Last week, the board of telecommunications companies approved the appointment of Carlos Ocaña Orbis, an economist close to the government president Pedro Sánchez, whom he helped prepare for his doctoral dissertation and who also held senior positions in the socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez, to the post of director representing the State Society of Industrial Participation Zapatero.

In order to include an economist as a representative on the board of directors of the state-owned SEPI and not change the number of directors set at a maximum of 15, one of the independent directors resigned from his post. The outgoing independent director, Carmen García de Andrés, will also be replaced by Ocaña as a member of the Committee of Delegates and the Audit and Control Committee of the Board of Directors of Telefónica.

As a result of the upcoming express remodeling, Telefonica’s board of directors will increase from 10 to 9 independent directors, and will also have two executive directors (group president Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete and CEO Angel Vila), three of its own directors. directors (representing Criteria, BBVA and now SEPI) and an external adviser (represented by Javier de Paz, a confidant of former government president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero).

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