Factbox: Italy and Libya share close investment ties

Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:10am EST

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(Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has attracted criticism for failing to condemn violence in Libya, which in recent years has deepened business and political ties with Rome.

Flush with petrodollars, Libya has been buying stakes in Italian companies, while Italian companies have nabbed contracts for energy and infrastructure projects in the North African state.

Following is a list of Libya's main Italian investments and Italian companies with investments in Libya:

ENI

Italy's biggest oil and gas company has extensive operations in Libya, including long-term take-or-pay contracts. The company has said it plans to invest as much as $25 billion there.

Libya has also expressed its interest in buying a stake in Eni, but has not specified how much it holds.

IMPREGILO, ASTALDI

Italy's biggest builder Impregilo is expected to be a big gainer from Berlusconi's push to develop ties with Libya and has pre-qualified for a Libyan motorway project financed by Rome that is worth as much as 5 billion euros.

Italy's No. 2 builder Astaldi has also expressed interest in the project.

Impregilo has also been cited as a possible target for Libyan investment.

FINMECCANICA

Italian aerospace and defense company Finmeccanica SpA and Libya in 2009 agreed to cooperate on aerospace and other projects in the Middle East and Africa. Under the deal, a 50-50 joint venture between Finmeccanica and the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio will be created and act as the main vehicle for investments.

Finmeccanica has also won Libyan contracts, including a 247-million-euro rail contract last year, and has said it is eyeing more orders from the North African state.

The Libyan Investment Authority also holds a 2.01 percent stake in the company, regulatory filings showed last month.

UNICREDIT

Libya's stake in banking group UniCredit stands at a total 7.5 percent after the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) acquired a 2.59 percent stake in Italy's biggest lender.

Libya's central bank is a shareholder in the bank, with a 4.988 percent stake. A row over Libyan stake-building in the bank cost former CEO Alessandro Profumo his job last year.

FIAT

Libya came to the rescue of Fiat in 1977 at the invitation of the head of its founding family, Giovanni Agnelli, with the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (Lafico) buying a stake of about 15 percent in what was then a struggling carmaker.

The investment attracted criticism. Lafico sold its stake in 1986, but in 2002 it bought just over 2 percent. Currently its stake is less than 2 percent.

SOCCER

Lafico has 7.5 percent of the soccer club Juventus, which is controlled by the Agnellis. Gaddafi's son, Al-Saadi Gaddafi, used to sit on the Juventus board and was even a player for Perugia and Udine. Libya at one stage considered bidding for the Roman club Lazio and also poured money into Triestina.

TEXTILES

Lafico holds 21.7 percent of Olcese, according to the textile company's website.

(Compiled by Giselda Vagnoni and Deepa Babington)

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