March 13, 2020 / 10:40 AM / 16 days ago

Italy to allow AGM delays, freezing state-owned firm appointments - source

ROME (Reuters) - Italy is set to approve a measure allowing companies to postpone their annual general meetings due to the coronavirus emergency, in a move that delays appointments at strategic state-controlled firms, a government source told Reuters on Friday.

An emergency decree is expected to allow companies to postpone their AGMs by three months, said the source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The boards of directors of state-owned groups such as oil giant Eni (ENI.MI), utility Enel (ENEI.MI), defense group Leonardo LDO.F and bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) come up for renewal in the spring.

The Treasury was due to decide in March on the new appointments, but the decision will now be delayed.

The person said the move was motivated by the need to concentrate on fighting Europe’s worst coronavirus crisis.

However, disagreements within the ruling coalition on whom to appoint on the boards of state-owned companies have also played a role, the source said.

The Treasury owns 4.34% of Eni and has another 25.76% via state lender CDP. It has controlling stakes in Enel, Leonardo, post office operator Poste Italiane (PST.MI) and owns 68% of bailed-out Monte dei Paschi.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Valentina Za and Alexander Smith

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