TI calm despite disposal

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TI yesterday shrugged off the sale of almost 9 per cent of its shares by Mannesmann, the German telecommunications and engineering group, writes Tom Stevenson. The engineer's share price closed 8p lower at 556.5p after UBS, Cazenove and SBC Warburg placed 42.1 million shares at 532p each.

Analysts took at face value remarks from Mannesmann's chief executive, Joachim Funk, who said: "Mannesmann's decision to dispose of its holding in TI Group was based wholly on factors unconnected with TI where our investment has been extremely satisfactory."

Zafar Khan, engineering analyst at Societe Generale Strauss Turnbull, said: "It is not a major blow for TI. There was a plan to work together in new areas and territories but nothing significant came of it."

The German group said it was "focusing its investments in telecommunications... and has recently undertaken significant additional commitments in telecommunications ventures".

TI's chairman, Sir Christopher Lewinton, said the relationship had been "helpful" to TI and further collaboration opportunities would be explored.

Mr Khan said the groups had drifted apart in terms of strategy.