Business / Industries

Infrastructures offer potential for China-Italy deals

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-16 13:57

MILAN -- There is plenty of space for China-Italy collaboration in the infrastructural sector, Italian experts told Xinhua during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's current visit to Italy.

Earlier this week, companies of the two countries signed deals worth 8 billion euros ($10 billion) in various sectors including energy, aeronautics, transportation, environment and shipbuilding.

Richard Miratsky, head of the corporate analytical team at Dagong Europe, the European branch in Milan of China-based Dagong Global Credit Rating Co Ltd, said Chinese investors are interested in Italian utilities and infrastructures.

Italy has a long road history dated back to the Roman Empire. In order to keep its sizeable road network in good conditions, it is estimated that a minimum of 40 million tons of asphalt should be used every year.

However, due to the financial crisis, road construction and maintenance have been almost suspended for the last three years, Miratsky noted.

"In Italy, the highway traffic is expected to return to growth in 2014, though it remains structurally below the pre-crisis levels by approximately 10 percent," he said.

Maintenance and reconstruction, subdued traffic levels on toll roads, growing needs for expansion and constrained government funds, together could pose "attractive opportunities" for long-term investors, the analyst underlined.

The Italian rail network, whose operational lines are over 16,700 km long, also has big investment potentials.

"Partial privatization of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (a company managing the rail network's infrastructure and services), whose shares are now wholly owned by the economy ministry, is currently being analyzed," the group's spokesman Orazio Carabini told Xinhua on Wednesday.

There is space for investment also in the seaports of the Mediterranean peninsula, said Marco Donati, general manager of the Italian bureau of Chinese shipping corporation COSCO Group.

Years ago COSCO participated in a sizeable investment project, acquiring a 50-percent concession in a container terminal port at Naples, a city in southern Italy, he recalled.

In the future, the group, one of the biggest ship owners in the world, may acquire a concession in another terminal which is being built in the same port, Donati told Xinhua.

"We were satisfied by our first investment and we would be interested in making new ones," he said.

Infrastructural investments, however, are generally smoother for Chinese players in other European countries than in Italy, the general manager noted.

This is due to various reasons including Italy's tendency to carry out alone, without the help of foreign groups, big projects, despite a slow-moving bureaucratic system which often causes problems and delays, he added.

Donati wished that a more comfortable investment environment will be created in the Italian infrastructural field to enhance win-win cooperation.

Infrastructures offer potential for China-Italy deals

Infrastructures offer potential for China-Italy deals

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