The Spanish state’s investment company moved closer towards its target of owning ten per cent equity in Telefonica, with the latest batch of shares bought taking it to the six per cent mark.

In a statement, state-owned Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI) announced it had informed the country’s stock market regulator CNMV of its latest purchases.

SEPI is in the process of accumulating shares to reach an equity level of ten per cent in the operator, though is attempting to buy them in a way which minimizes “the impact on the price” and complying with associated regulatory requirements.

It announced the purchase of its initial three per cent stake around a month ago.

SEPI added its interest in the business provided: “greater shareholder stability to the company to achieve its objectives and contributes to the protection of the strategic capabilities of a key company in the telecommunications sector,” noting the company’s knock-on role for industry and national security.

The stake acquisition was instructed by the Spanish government three months after Saudi operator stc splashed €2.1 billion on a position in the operator.