Italian prosecutors call for Saipem to face trial over allegedly misleading market

MILAN, May 4 (Reuters) - Italian prosecutors have asked a Milan judge to put energy services group Saipem and two former managers on trial for allegedly misleading investors in a share sale to state lender CDP more than six years ago, a document showed.

In January 2016, energy group Eni sold a 12.5% stake in Saipem to CDP to give the state lender joint control of the services company. At the same time Saipem carried out a capital increase of up to 3.5 billion euros ($4.2 billion).

Prosecutors allege top managers at Saipem, including former CEO Stefano Cao, concealed the true financial state of the company, overestimating forecasts in group results and in the fundraising prospectus, the document prepared by prosecutors for the Milan court shows, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters.

Under Italian law, a company can be prosecuted for offences committed by its managers in its own interest.

Saipem declined to comment. A lawyer for Cao did not reply to a request for a comment. The Milan court never comments on ongoing cases.

Preliminary hearings in the case will begin on May 10, judicial sources said. The judge will decide at the end of the hearings whether to order a trial or dismiss the case.

$1 = 0.8322 euros Reporting by Alfredo Faieta and Emilio Parodi. Writing by Stephen Jewkes. Editing by Mark Potter