May 27 (Reuters) - A change of guard at Italy’s powerful Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) has put the 170-year-old state-backed lender and investor under the political and public spotlight.
Dario Scannapieco, a former adviser to Prime Minister Mario Draghi, will be the new head of CDP, replacing current CEO Fabrizio Palermo.
CDP invests savings made by Italians through the national post office network Poste Italiane but its debt is not booked as part of Italy’s mammoth public debt pile.
Here is an overview of CDP’s current investments and projects under development for the institution controlled by Italy’s treasury:
EQUITY FUND FOR COVID-HIT COMPANIES
CDP launched a 40-billion-euro ($49 billion) equity fund this week that is tasked with helping businesses weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund will be financed by the Treasury via specifically issued sovereign bonds, and managed by CDP. Sources told Reuters that around 100 companies have already expressed a potential interest in tapping the fund.
Next week, investors in Italian infrastructure group Atlantia’s will decide whether to accept an offer presented by a consortium led by CDP to buy an 80% stake in motorway unit Autostrade per l’Italia.
If the 8-billion-euro deal goes through, CDP will end up with a controlling stake in Autostrade, and more than 3,000 km of highways will effectively return to state control. An agreement would also draw a line under a political dispute triggered by the deadly 2018 Genoa bridge collapse.
Later this year CDP will end up with a 17% stake in one of Europe’s leading payments group, created through the merger of Nexi, smaller rival SIA and Nets.
The state lender plays a key role in Italy’s energy sector with controlling stakes in Italy’s power and gas transport grids Terna and Snam. It also calls the shots at energy major Eni, controls energy services group Saipem and is key shareholder in the country’s biggest gas distributor, Italgas.
TELECOMS AND BROADBAND
CDP has built a 10% stake in former phone monopoly Telecom Italia to offset the influence of French media group Vivendi, which is the largest shareholder in a company deemed strategic.
The state investor, which owns a 50% stake in broadband infrastructure operator Open Fiber, is set to buy an additional 10% stake later this year.
CDP is one of the leading shareholders in French stock market operator Euronext and a key investor in Milan’s bourse group, which manages the Italian stock market and government bond platform MTS.
CDP teamed up with Euronext and Italy’s biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo to buy Borsa Italiana from the London Stock Exchange in a 4.3-billion-euro deal completed last month.
With nearly 8% of Euronext, CDP has the same stake as its French counterpart Caisse des Depots.
CDP joined forces with construction company Webuild to orchestrate a joint rescue of smaller rival Astaldi and revive the country’s sickly construction industry. (Reporting by Francesca Landini, Stephen Jewkes, Giuseppe Fonte and Elvira Pollina; Editing by Pravin Char)