Italian business is stepping up cooperation with Russia, without waiting for the lifting of sanctions

In October was held an important conference the Italian and Russian businessmen in Verona. Italian Bank Intesa Sanpaolo has signed an agreement with Russian Independent oil and gas company (NNK), which is in the black list of firms subject to us sanctions. The largest in the Apennines, the Bank is ready to consider the possibility of financing a new project, Russian oil 5.8 billion. The representative of the Italian Bank said the Financial Times (FT) that there is no final decision of the Bank’s management has not yet adopted.

«The Bank only agreed to consider any potential opportunities associated with this project, in accordance with international law and laws»,- explained the press attache of Intesa.

Yet, I believe FT albeit only signing of a Memorandum again stressed that Italy and Russia continues to enjoy strong business and commercial ties despite efforts by the US and EU to isolate Russia. This agreement is another confirmation of the fact that Moscow enjoys considerable sympathy in the business and political circles of Italy.

«The sanctions are illegal and have been introduced for ideological reasons,» — said the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intesa Antonio Fallico, received from President Putin the award because he managed to organize last year a loan of 5.2 billion dollars for the sale of the shares of the oil company «Rosneft».

Hear how European businessmen in private conversations criticized Western sanctions against Russia, seriously limit cooperation with Moscow, not so rare, the newspaper notes. Mainly, we are talking about profitable partnerships with large Russian oil and gas sector. Italy is relatively unusual in this regard. In the Apennines the disappointment in the sanctions often speaks out loud and clear.

«It’s time to do something concrete and tangible,- says Emma MARCEGAGLIA, Chairman of the Board of the Italian oil company ENI and a member of the «steel» dynasty MARCEGAGLIA, which cooperates closely with Russia.- We must act step by step. We must constantly strengthen our economic cooperation with Russia and to increase its efficiency and usefulness. This is the best way to encourage politicians to take actions which in the long run will benefit both Europe and Russia.»

Intesa, ENI, Saipem drilling company and other companies in the Italian energy and engineering sectors had, perhaps, one of the strong ties with Russian business on the continent before joining the Crimea to Russia in 2014. After the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions and despite the fact that a number of American and European companies left the Russian market, Italian businessmen cooperation has continued. Competitors are ENI, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and BP under sanctions froze relations with Russian partners. Many American and European banks froze the agreement on crediting of the Russian business in 2014, However, at a conference in Verona, a number of senior Italian managers continued attempts to build a strong long-term economic ties with Russia, which for many years is the second (after Germany) trade partner of Italy.

One of the major Italian businessmen, the name of which FT does not name, said that many high-level representatives of Russian business, who came to Verona, underscore the importance of Moscow’s relations with Italy. Italy is one of the few places in Europe where Russian business is still ready to do business.

Issues of trade cooperation takes an important place in the agenda of the visit of the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni in may this year in Sochi, where he met with Vladimir Putin. By the way, Maria Elena Beauchamp, one of the main advisers Gentiloni, participated in the conference in Verona. She declared that America’s infatuation with protectionism and exit of Washington from a number of agreements to combat climate change, underscore the need for a different approach to relations with Russia and Eurasia.

In Rome excited a sharp rise in the volume of trade with Russia this year. According to the Italian statistical office Istat said exports to Russia in the first three quarters of 2017 increased by 22.6% compared to the same period in 2016. The growth achieved on account of engineering products, the most unaffected by sanctions sector of Italian industry. It falls under the sanctions only products associated with oil and gas production.

«Recorded growth, says Alessandro Terzulli, a senior economist at the credit Agency Sace.- The question is whether it can maintain or even accelerate in the next year».

Sace in Russia is considered the third largest market for Italy. This week it was announced the completion of the first phase of construction in Moscow of the VTB arena Park project worth 1.7 billion euros, including 400 million euros of guarantees from Sace. The project consists of a football stadium and five-star hotels, which builds Codest, the Russian branch of Rizzani De Eccher, a construction company from the North-Eastern region Fruli. Alessandro Profumo, Director of aerospace and defense company Leonardo, speaking in Verona, said that his firm vigorously present in the Russian market. The Italian energy giant ENI has joint projects with Rosneft in the Black, Barents and Mediterranean seas. Italian energy, according to Emma MARCEGAGLIA, exploring the possibility of signing a new deal with Rosneft for liquefied gas. Saipem has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the «black» sanctions list «Rosneft». It is first and foremost about building a joint engineering center.

Italian business is stepping up cooperation with Russia, without waiting for the lifting of sanctions 30.10.2017

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