MILAN Jan 12 Italy's top insurer Assicurazioni
Generali must remain Italian, UniCredit's
CEO Jean Pierre Mustier told an Italian daily on Thursday,
addressing speculation of a possible takeover by French rival
Concerns have mounted in Italy that more Italian companies
would fall prey to French rivals after Vivendi became
the top shareholder in former monopolist Telecom Italia
and, more recently, aggressively built a large stake
in broadcaster Mediaset.
The appointment of a French CEO at Generali, which is headed
by Philippe Donnet, and at UniCredit have further stoked
speculation. The head of the Lower House Budget Committee said
on Wednesday there was a design to make UniCredit French to
tighten the grip on Generali and Mediobanca.
"Let's stop being paranoid," Mustier told Italian daily La
Stampa. "For me as an "Italian citizen" Generali is crucial for
the country ... Generali must remain Italian, Mediobanca must
preserve the insurer's independence."
UniCredit is the top shareholder in Mediobanca which in turn
is Generali's biggest investor.
Mustier also said UniCredit would complete a bumper capital
increase it has announced by March 10.
(Reporting by Valentina Za)