* CDP to sell 35 pct in CDP Reti to China grid
* CDP wants to shed further 14 pct of CDP Reti
* Sale part of Italy's push to sell state assets
(Adds details and background of planned sale)
By Steve Scherer
ROME, July 30 Italy's Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
(CDP) said on Wednesday its board had approved the sale of a 35
percent stake in its energy grid holding company to China's
State Grid Corp for no less than 2.1 billion euros ($2.8
State holding company CDP owns all of energy grid unit CDP
Reti, which has a 30 percent stake in gas transport group Snam
and will soon receive a similar stake in power grid
On Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will host
the signing of the sale agreement between CDP and China's State
Grid International Development Ltd (SGID), a wholly-owned
subsidiary of China's state grid, according to a statement.
The planned sale is part of Italy's efforts to shed state
assets to reduce the country's 2-trillion-euro public debt and
raise funds to invest in infrastructure projects. It is also one
of the biggest Chinese investments in Italy.
Italy's Treasury, which owns 80 percent of CDP, has pledged
to raise the equivalent of 0.7 percent of GDP, or about 11
billion euros, from disposals this year of stakes in companies
including air traffic control operator ENAV, and oil companies
Eni and Enel.
The state lender's initial plan envisaged the sale of up to
49 percent of CDP Reti to raise some 3 billion euros. The CDP
board said it agreed to seek Italian institutional investors to
buy another 14 percent of CDP Reti.
Italy has been urging China to invest more in Italy for a
number years and Renzi visited the country last month to
Power and gas networks have become an attractive asset class
in recent years as their return is regulated by governments,
giving investors a predictable source of income even when the
economy is struggling.
As part of the deal, CDP Reti will receive a loan of 1.5
billion euros prior to the sale, 45 percent from CDP and 55
percent from a pool of banks, the statement said.
When the sale is finalised in the coming months, SGID will
be able to nominate two of CDP Reti's five board members and
designate one board member for both Snam and Terna, according to
($1 = 0.7477 Euros)
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; editing by David Clarke)