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FDI: Entry and ownership rule
In July 2012, the Italian industrial group Finmeccanica announced its willingness to concentrate its activities in three strategic sectors (helicopters, defence and aerospatial), hereby selling its other civil departments of the group (Ansaldo Energia, Ansaldo Sts and Ansaldo Breda).
Shortly hereafter, the German company Siemens offered to buy the Finmeccatica share of the power plant producer Ansaldo Energia for EUR1.3bn. Ansaldo Energia is currently owned by Finmeccanica (55%) and the US-American First Reserve (45%).
Following the German offer, a debate started in Italy between institutions, trade unions and Confindustria (General Confederation of Italian Industry) about the possibility to keep Ansaldo Energia in Italian hands. In particular, they envisaged the intervention of "Fondo Strategico Italiano" (FSI, Italian Strategic Fund). The latter is a holding company whose strategic controlling shareholder is Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA (70% owned by the Ministry for the Economy and Finance (MEF) and 30% by bank foundations).
The FSI uses its funds to acquire minority interests in companies of major national interest and acts as a long-term investor with active involvement in the governance of the companies in which it invests.
By its nature, the FSI cannot acquire more than a minority stake in Ansaldo Energia but it sponsored a consortium of Italian entrepreneurs willing to acquire the remaining part of the Finmeccanica stake in Ansaldo Energia.
FSI signed on 13 October 2012 a memorandum of understanding with Gruppo Energia Brescia, Gruppo Acciaierie Venete and Davide Usberti (major owner of Gas Plus).
For the moment, as FSI reports, the intent is only to "formalize a joint non-binding offer and assess with Finmeccanica the conditions to reach a binding agreement in the short term".
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