Confindustria Head: Sovereign Funds An Opportunity For Italy

Confindustria Head: Sovereign Funds An Opportunity For Italy

ROME (MF-Dow Jones)--The head of Italy's main business lobby group Confindustria said Monday that sovereign wealth funds represent an opportunity for Italian business.

"We have to consider those sovereign funds as an opportunity to take advantage of in a moment where growth is slowing," Confindustria President Emma Marcegaglia said at a conference in Rome. "I think there are a lot of opportunities."

She also said the Gulf countries have a very significant amount of liquidity and sovereign wealth funds will become a very important issue in the coming months.

Last week, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he wants to insure that foreign sovereign wealth fund investors in Italian companies are transparent.

Frattini met with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the largest sovereign wealth fund with assets estimated around $850 billion, in Abu Dhabi earlier this month.

The Italian minister also said he expects Abu Dhabi investors to be interested in Italian companies that operate in infrastructure and tourism, without providing further details.

Confindustria said earlier this month that it expects Italian gross domestic product to shrink 0.5% in 2009 and 0.2% in 2008 largely due to a drop in investment, which is expected to fall 1.9% in 2009.

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October 27, 2008 06:43 ET (10:43 GMT)

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