February 5, 2015 / 11:10 AM / 3 years ago

Finmeccanica denies talks to sell Oto Melara and Wass stakes

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Feb 5 (Reuters) - Italian industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica denied on Thursday a media report that it was in talks to sell stakes in weapons makers Oto Melara and Wass, saying it was not consistent with its new business plan.

Weekly Panorama said on Thursday that Finmeccanica, which is seeking to cut a heavy debt burden and refocus on its core aerospace and defence businesses, was in talks to sell the stakes to shipbuilder Fincantieri.

In a separate statement, Fincantieri also denied the talks.

After the denials, Panorama issued a statement reiterating that it had learnt from sources close to the matter that Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono was interested in strengthening the group's position in the naval military market.

Finmeccanica announced its first business plan under new CEO Mauro Moretti last month. He aims to cut debt to below 3.5 billion euros ($4 billion) and transform the state-controlled firm into a leaner aerospace and defence group.

As part of the plan, Finmeccanica is selling its rail businesses and could also dispose of its U.S. defence electronics division DRS Technologies. The need to cut debt has been fuelling speculation about other asset sales. ($1 = 0.8777 euros) (Reporting by Gdynia Newsroom and Danilo Masoni in Milan; editing by David Clarke)

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