(Corrects Hollande's title in third paragraph)
MILAN, March 9 (Reuters) - Shares in Telecom Italia were up strongly in early trade on Wednesday after comments by Italian and French leaders they want to create major companies that can compete in Europe.
"It's the Renzi-Hollande meeting that's triggered this," a Milan trader said.
French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday there could be cooperation between France and Italy in certain sectors, including telecommunications, defence and shipping.
The comments followed remarks by Orange Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard late on Monday who said he might look into the possibility of a merger deal with Telecom Italia if French billionaire Vincent Bollore invited him to.
At 0815 GMT Telecom Italia shares were up 4 percent. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes)