Draghi Could End Italy’s Era of Corporate Interventionism

The recent trend of Italian governments intervening in corporate affairs may have come to an end, after newly installed Prime Minister Mario Draghi laid out his plans in a speech to the Senate on Wednesday.

“The role of the state and the scope of its interventions will have to be carefully evaluated,” Draghi said. It should use the levers of spending on research and development, education and training, regulation, incentives and taxation, he added.

Draghi Could End Italy’s Era of Corporate Interventionism

In his speech, Draghi also said that private business must bring its capital, expertise and innovation to public investment projects.

The outgoing government, led by Giuseppe Conte, aimed to increase its control over strategic assets, often trying to lean on state-backed lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA. Using the coronavirus emergency and its economic impact as a window of opportunity, the former government targeted assets including Telecom Italia SpA, Autostrade per l’Italia SpA and Italy’s stock exchange among others.

Conte’s cabinet wielded so-called “golden powers” to veto foreign acquisitions and has been pressuring UniCredit SpA to step in as a buyer for bailed-out lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA.

The approach was not always welcomed by company investors. Minority shareholders in Atlantia SpA, Autostrade’s parent company, complained about threats from government members and the role of Cassa Depositi, which is controlled by the Treasury.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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