© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera attends the 150th anniversary celebration of Italian tyremaker Pirelli in Milan, Italy, January 28, 2022. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/File Photo
MILAN (Reuters) – Pirelli’s CEO said in a recent private meeting that he is “very confident” Rome will use its Golden Power to curb Chinese influence over the Italian tyremaker, deemed a strategic asset, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Italy’s right-wing government led by Giorgia Meloni is assessing a new governance agreement at Pirelli between its largest shareholder, China’s Sinochem, and fellow investor Camfin, the vehicle of Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera.
Rome is expected to decide next week whether or not to use its so-called ‘Golden Power’ to block or set conditions on the agreement, officials have told Reuters.
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The source said that Tronchetti Provera had expressed confidence at a recent meeting that the situation would be resolved positively.
Tronchetti Provera had previously warned Rome, in a hearing with government officials, that the tyremaker’s independence is at stake because of Sinochem’s growing grip, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
A spokesperson for the Pirelli CEO said Tronchetti Provera had no information to enable him to make – and he has not made – any predictions as to what decisions the government might take.
“Like all the parties involved, he is waiting,” the spokesperson said.
Meloni’s office declined to comment.
Sinochem has a 37% stake in the group, while Camfin owns 14.1%.
Golden Power rules are aimed at protecting assets deemed strategic for Italy and Rome is concerned about Sinochem’s growing influence as the agreement will allow it to appoint more board members and potentially choose future CEOs of Pirelli, sources have said.
Tronchetti Provera, who will become Pirelli’s executive vice chairman when the company’s board is set to be renewed at the end of July, has chosen Andrea Bruno as new CEO.
Camfin – which has options to buy a further 4.6% in Pirelli – earlier this year signed a separate shareholder agreement with Italian brakes maker Brembo, which owns a 6% stake in the tyremaker, in what analysts see as an initial step to build an alternative and stable group of Italian shareholders for the company.