World News

FACTBOX: Libyan investments in Italy

(Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi makes his first trip to Italy this week as the two nations put behind them a bitter colonial past to forge deeper investment ties.

Flush with petrodollars, Libya has been snapping up stakes in major Italian companies which it says are purely financial investments over the long-term.

Libya is also looking to set up a joint fund of as much as $500 million with Italian bank Mediobanca to invest in distressed Italian companies.

Following is a list of Libya’s main holdings and potential investments in Italian companies:


Libya has said it is weighing an investment in power producer Enel, which launched a capital hike this month.


Libya holds a 4.6 percent stake in Italy’s No. 2 bank and came to the bank’s rescue early this year by helping plug a shortfall in capital raising efforts.


Libya last year announced its interest in buying a stake in Eni, but has said it is not targeting a specific stake level. It has not specified how much it holds at present.


Libya came to the rescue of Fiat in 1977 at the invitation of the head of its founding family, Giovanni Agnelli, with the Libyan state investment company -- the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (Lafico) -- buying a stake of about 15 percent in the struggling car maker.

Lafico sold that stake in 1986, but in 2002 it bought just over 2 percent of the company. Currently its stake in Fiat is less than 2 percent.


Lafico also has 7.5 percent of the Juventus soccer club, which like Fiat is controlled by the Agnelli family. A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Al-Saadi Gaddafi, used to sit on Juventus board and has played for Perugia and Udinese. Libya at one stage considered a bid to buy Roman club Lazio and also poured money into Triestina.


The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank had 2.58 percent of Italian lender Capitalia, shortly before it was taken over by larger peer UniCredit. The Libyans are seen as close to Capitalia’s former Chairman Cesare Geronzi -- who now heads Mediobanca.


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


Libya considered buying a stake in Telecom Italia, the former telecoms monopoly now controlled by a group including Spain’s Telefonica, but the talks broke down over concerns over price and debt, according to sources close to the matter.

But the head of Libya’s sovereign wealth fund has said he is willing to reopen talks.

Libya already has a presence in the Italian telecoms sector through a 14.8 percent stake in Retelit held by the Libyan Post Telecommunications & Information Technology Company.

Compiled by Deepa Babington and Silvia Aloisi