Italy - Factors to watch on Dec. 20

Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:00am EST

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The following factors could affect Italian markets on Thursday.

Reuters has not verified the newspaper reports, and cannot vouch for their accuracy. New items are marked with (*).

ITALIAN POLITICS

Italy's president gave a strong indication on Wednesday that next year's election would be held in on February 24, as the country prepares to replace a technocrat government that has ruled for over a year.

FINMECCANICA

General Electric is set to sign a deal to buy Italian aerospace supplier Avio excluding its space division, sources close to the talks said on Wednesday. Finmeccanica owns around 14 percent of Avio.

The board of the defence group heard a statement from chairman Giuseppe Orsi on talks to sell non-core assets including AnsaldoEnergia, a source close to the board said on Wednesday, without adding details.

An Italian offer led by state-backed private equity fund FSI for a minority stake in Ansaldo Energia was not considered convincing enough by the board, which decided to give more time for an eventual improved Italian bid and for other eventual offers to materialise, according to several Italian newspapers.

FIAT

Carmaker chairman and CEO will present to Prime Minister Mario Monti and local authorities new development plan for the factory in southern Italian town of Melfi on Thursday. The plant is due to produce two new small car models.

UNIPOL, FONDIARIA, MILANO ASSICURAZIONI

The insurance companies are expected to unveil details about their planned merger after holding their respective boards on Thursday. Unipol agreed last January to rescue Fondiaria in a complex deal that will create a group to compete with Italy's No. 1 insurer, Assicurazioni Generali.

GENERALI

The Bank of Italy announced officially on Wednesday it would transfer its 4.5 percent stake in Assicurazioni Generali to Italy's state-backed fund Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI) in exchange for shares in FSI. The fund has then agreed to sell the Generali stake at the market price.

* BANCA MONTE PASCHI

An agreement with banking unions over redundancies at the bank is near, Il Corriere della Sera reported on Thursday.

RCS MEDIAGROUP, FIAT

Italian carmaker Fiat would take part into a capital increase at Italian publisher RCS Mediagroup if the plan is convincing, Fiat Chairman John Elkann said on Thursday.

Fiat SpA owns 10.5 percent in the Italian publisher.

The media company said on Wednesday it will need a large injection of capital to accelerate its digital transition.

The journalists at RCS's Il Corriere della Sera called for a "significant" capital increase, new editorial guidelines and new marketing solutions for the relaunch of the Italian newspaper, according to a statement in the paper on Thursday.

ATLANTIA, SOCIETA' AUTOSTRADALI E SERVIZI

Weak traffic volumes will continue over the next 12 months, said Moody's Investors Service in a special comment published on Wednesday. Among the issuers most exposed to traffic declines there are Italian toll road operators Atlantia and SIAS, Moody's said.

ENEL

The Italian energy group wants more cash and more time to build two new units at the Mochovce nuclear plant in Slovakia, the country's prime minister said, describing the Italian utility's demands as "unacceptable".

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