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Austria Protects Telekom Austria From Takeover Via Law, SN Says

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Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Austria has changed a law to protect Telekom Austria AG from a potential takeover by non-European investors, Salzburger Nachrichten reported.

The new clause in the Foreign Trade Act regulates that participation of 25 percent or more in “important” infrastructure companies require approval by the Ministry of Economics unless the investor is from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, the Austrian paper said.

In case of an “endangerment of the interests of public safety and order,” takeovers can be held up or conditions imposed, the paper cited the law as saying.

This would stop Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris from taking a substantial stake in Telekom Austria and also would hinder International Petroleum Investment Co. of Abu Dhabi from increasing its 24.9 percent holding in OMV AG without approval, according to the report.

The provisions also affect utilities, hospitals, fire brigades and disaster control, the defense industry, railways and universities, Salzburger Nachrichten said.

Austria holds 28 percent in Telekom Austria and 31.5 percent of OMV.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Zoe Schneeweiss at zschneeweiss@bloomberg.net

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