The BZ Group of Swiss financier Martin Ebner has exercised an option to sell 2.5 per cent of the Italian Pirelli company to the Pirelli holding group for €169.3 million (SFr255.4 million). However, the BZ Group plans to rebuild its stake.
A statement on Friday from Pirelli headquarters in Milan said the sale was carried out for "technical reasons" in the interests of BZ shareholders, given the temporary weakening of Pirelli shares.
The statement quoted Ebner as saying he continued to support the group.
"We confirm our unwavering confidence in and our full support for the Pirelli group in the mid to long term and it is our intention to restore our shareholding," Ebner said.
The BZ Group has a second and final option to sell a further 2.5 per cent of Pirelli in March, 2003.
swissinfo with agencies