Russian, Italian State Funds to Form EUR1B Investment Fund

Wall Street Journal, 25.11.2013

Russia and Italy will set up a joint investment fund with a pool of 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to promote business activities between the two countries.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Fondo Strategico Italiano SpA will sign the deal Tuesday in Trieste, where Prime Minister Enrico Letta and President Vladimir Putin will hold a bilateral summit.

"We will focus on technologically advanced sectors, such as machinery, transport and oil processing in both Italy and Russia," RDIF Chief Executive Kirill Dmitriev said in an interview Monday. The two funds will contribute EUR500 million each to the new investment vehicle, he added.

He said Russian companies, which will be heavily involved in infrastructure projects in the next year, will benefit from partnerships with Italian engineering companies, adding that the fund aims to make two investments next year.

Mr. Dmitriev excluded the possibility of the fund investing in Italy's strong fashion sector at its launch.

In November last year, Fondo Strategico Italiano, a holding company controlled by the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, signed a joint venture agreement with Qatar Holding to invest up to EUR2 billion in Italian companies.

At the time, FSI said the EUR2 billion will be equally provided by both entities over the first four years, after EUR300 million is injected at its inception.

The joint venture will invest in sectors such as food, fashion, furniture and tourism.

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA is a financial institution that uses postal savings deposits as the main source of funds.