The Minister of Economy, Commerce and Business, Carlos Body, assured this Thursday that the Government will request a seat on the board of directors of Telefónica within the framework of the mandate made by the Executive to the State Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI) — dependent on the Ministry of Finance – last December to acquire up to 10% of the telecom company chaired by José María Álvarez-Pallete.

This was indicated by the minister in an interview on the television network ‘La Sexta’ and reported by Europa Press in which, when asked if the Government’s intention is to request a seat on the highest decision-making body of Telefónica, he indicated “yes”, “of course”.

However, Corps has not revealed whether the Executive already has someone in mind to be part of the operator’s board of directors representing SEPI. “It’s not up to me,” he simply stated.

On the other hand, and regarding the possibility that the State could enter other companies such as Talgo – which has received a public acquisition offer (OPA) by the Hungarian group Ganz-Mavag (Magyar Vagon) -, Corpus has limited itself to underlining the strategic nature of Telefónica.

“I think that the reflection around our strategic companies has less to do with the presence of the State or not. This is more of a discussion from the 90s. I believe that here it is a discussion related to the defense of the strategic interests of Spanish companies. And in this case, in Telefónica, that the State is there. It is a stable, long-term partner, it is good news.” he has highlighted.

His comment is in line with that made last week by the Minister of Industry and Tourism, Jordi Hereu, when asked about the same issue.

Specifically, Hereu pointed out that the Government has not decided to carry out any operation similar to that of the State’s entry into Telefónica.

On March 25, the SEPI notified the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) of the acquisition of a Telefónica shareholding package equivalent to 3.044% of the company’s share capital.

In fact, the Ministry of Finance approved the injection of 500 million euros to the SEPI to face the acquisition of Telefónica shares, according to a report from the General Intervention of the State Administration (IGAE) and reported by the newspaper ‘El World’ a few days ago.

The Government’s mandate to SEPI to enter Telefónica’s share capital came as a reaction to the surprising landing of the Saudi operator STC – controlled by the country’s sovereign fund, PIF (Public Investment Fund) – in the operator’s shareholding. last September.

Specifically, STC acquired 9.9% of Telefónica’s share capital, 4.9% through direct shares and the other 5% through financial derivatives, in an operation valued at 2.1 billion euros.

However, market sources have told Europa Press that SEPI would have parked another 2% more of Telefónica’s share capital in financial derivatives and that, in principle, the intention would be to release it “shortly.”

With that additional 2%, the State’s participation in the company would be 5%, a weight in the telecom’s share capital similar to that currently held by Caixabank (if the participation of CriteriaCaixa is added) and BBVA, two of the members of the so-called ‘stable core’ of Telefónica.

In this context, it is worth remembering that Telefónica will hold its next general meeting of shareholders on April 12, in which, according to its agenda, the “re-election, ratification and appointment, if applicable, of counselors.”

Specifically, the re-election of Isidro Fainé, José Javier Echenique, Peter Löscher, Verónica María Pascual and Claudia Sender is planned, as well as the ratification of Solange Sobral and Alejandro Reynal, the latter two appointed on December 13.

The regulations of the Telefónica board stipulate that shareholders representing at least 3% of the company’s share capital can request a supplement to the call by including one or more points on the agenda – although they could not be modifications that would imply appoint advisors–. However, this request must be made within five days of the publication of the call.

Therefore, this five-day period has already expired because the call was published on March 8, so the board will not be able to appoint directors other than those already included in the proposed resolutions on the agenda.

On March 25, the day that SEPI revealed its 3.044% stake in Telefónica, the market value of that share package was around 700 million euros, with the company’s price at the close of trading. at 3.99 euros.

However, at the close of this past Wednesday, with Telefónica’s shares at 4.044 euros, that stake has revalued to 707.86 million euros.

Likewise, if the 4,044 euros at which Telefónica’s trading closed this past Wednesday is taken as a reference, acquiring the other 6.956% of the company (until 10% is complete) would have a cost of about 1,618 million euros.