UPDATE 1-Italian PM says Kuwait to invest 500 mln euros in Italy

Tue Feb 4, 2014 8:31am EST

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KUWAIT Feb 4 (Reuters) - Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund will invest 500 million euros ($676 million) in Italian companies in coordination with Italy's own strategic investment fund, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Tuesday.

The deal follows similar agreements with Qatar's investment fund last year to invest in Italian companies operating in the fashion, food and tourism sectors and a separate deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Kuwait and Italy will create a company with capital of 2.5 billion euros, of which 80 percent will come from Italy's strategic investment fund, the FSI, and the remainder from the Kuwait Investment Authority.

"This is an extraordinarily important development, it's an injection of confidence in our country," Italy's Letta said at a news conference in Kuwait during a visit to the Gulf states to attract interest in Italy as an investment destination.

The FSI said the deal would be signed formally in March. ($1 = 0.7397 euros) (Reporting by Stefano Bernabei; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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