By Ayse Ferliel
(Updates with more details)
ATHENS (MarketWatch) -- Marfin Investment Group Holdings SA, or MIG, said Monday that it has further raised its stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA, or OTE, to about 17.07% from 16.87%.
MIG said that of the 17.07%, its holdings consisted of a direct 6.51% stake in OTE, and a 10.56% stake held indirectly through total return equity swaps. The company did not disclose the names of the parties involved in the swap agreement.
But a person familiar with the matter said these were CommerzBank AG (CBK.XE) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group SA (RBS.LN), adding that about 6% of MIG's holding in OTE was transferred to banks - to be used as financing collateral, potentially allowing MIG to further raise its stake in the telecom company - though it has kept its voting rights in OTE intact.
Last month, MIG said it held a 4.4% stake in OTE indirectly through a swap agreement with CommerzBank AG.
The statement comes after MIG's purchase of over 1.88 million OTE shares on Nov. 21 and confirms press reports that MIG had further raised its holdings in OTE.
For the past several months, Marfin has been building its stake in Greece's dominant telecom operator, and is now the second-largest shareholder in the company behind the Greek state.
The Greek government controls a 28.03% stake in OTE and has said it plans to reduce that holding in the future.
Company Web sites: www.marfininvestmentgroup.gr; www.ote.gr