Fondo Strategico Italiano has made an offer to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Ansaldo Energia, which constructs power plants.
Italian engineering group Finmeccanica owns a 55 per cent stake in Ansaldo, with the rest of the equity held by First Reserve. The €4bn fund, which was set up by the Italian government last year to invest in national champions, intends to buy Finmeccanica's interest with a view to increasing its stake in the future. Siemens has made a €1.3bn offer for Ansaldo but has so far refused to increase its bid.
Ansaldo is not the first Finmeccanica-owned company that Fondo Strategico Italiano has targeted. Earlier this year it agreed to buy Finmeccanica's 14 per cent stake in aerospace business Avio. The engineering group is looking to sell around €1bn worth of assets this year to maintain its credit rating.