Brussels (Brussels Morning) Italy plans to launch a complaint against the Chinese takeover of an Italian firm producing military-grade drones, in a bid to scrap a 2018 deal that was accomplished using a chain of investment vehicles.
Italy initially opened an inquiry into the takeover in 2018 in order to verify whether the national regulators should have been notified that Chinese investors were bidding to take over 75% of the Pordenone-based Alpi Aviation.
Rome is arguing that the deal should have been reported to the authorities under the so-called “golden power” regulations that apply to strategically important assets. The Chinese entities behind the investment vehicles used for the transaction at the time were China Corporate United Investment Holding and CRRC Capital Holding, which in turn are controlled by the Management Committee of the Wuxi Liyuan Economic Development Zone and SASAC.
Citing three sources directly involved in the case, Reuters reports that the Italian government is preparing to send a formal notice to all the parties involved in the takeover, asking for clarification, before taking further measures to scrap the deal.
Rome has invoked these special regulations on rare occasions since 2012 in order to block foreign access to what Italy perceives to be companies of strategic interest. Three cases involved blocking Chinese investors from taking over key firms.
Two of the cases occurred in the past nine months, since Prime Minister Mario Draghi formed his government. In one case, Draghi vetoed the sale of a vegetable seed producer to Syngenta, a Chinese-owned agriculture company. Another case saw the Draghi government stop the takeover of a semiconductor company by China’s Shenzen Invenland Holdings.