Italy uses ‘golden power’ to block another strategic asset sale to foreign interestsReading Time: < 1 minutes
Italy has blocked the purchase of global seed producer Verisem by a Chinese-owned group. As part of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s so-called “golden power” veto to prevent strategic assets from being sold off to foreign interests, a source told Reuters that the Italian government had prevented Swiss-based Syngenta, from buying Verisem, which has a processing facility in Italy, for EUR 200 million.
With facilities in Italy, France and North America, Verisem is owned by US fund Paine Schwartz Partners. (Syngenta itself was purchased by Chinese interests in 2017 for USD 43 billion.)
An Italian agricultural lobby group reportedly requested that the government reject Syngenta’s bid, citing fears over the continent losing control of seeds for produce. Typically, telecoms, banking and health have been considered areas of strategic interest subject to veto by the government.
Golden powers to reject foreign bids on companies in Italy have only been used four times since 2012, but three of those four instances were against Chinese bids. Earlier this year, China’s Shenzhen Invenland Holdings Co. Ltd. was obstructed from buying a controlling stake in a Milan-based semiconductor firm of LPE SpA.