Home » Ferretti debuts in Italian stock exchange with diluted Chinese ownership

Ferretti debuts in Italian stock exchange with diluted Chinese ownership

China’s State-controlled Weichai, previously a majority shareholder, sold off a significant stake in the Italian yacht maker to allow for listing its stock in Milan as well as Hong Kong. The move follows a wider market drive to de-risk from Chinese investors

Ferretti completes dual listing with IPO in Milan. On Tuesday, the Italian yacht maker entered Italy’s main stock exchange, marking the first time a Hong Kong-listed stock obtained a dual listing on a European bourse. The move also allowed the company’s prominent Chinese investor to cut its majority stake and new European investors to buy in.

  • Weichai, controlled by the Chinese State, reduced its 65% stake in Ferretty by selling shares accounting for 26.1% of the company capital, generating €265 million.
  • In the first 24 hours, the stock’s price on the Milan exchange fell slightly from its €3 IPO, which valued the company at around €1 billion.
  • Tourism Minister Daniela Santanché attended the IPO bell-ringing ceremony, touting her friendship with Ferretti’s CEO Alberto Galassi and his wife and the belief that the group is an “ambassador of Italy in the world.”

Sailing away from China. As Decode39 reported, Weichai’s choice to relinquish its majority stake is inescapably linked to a wider Italian (and Western) crackdown on Chinese-owned companies amid heightened economic security concerns. One of the reasons for Ferretti’s Milan listing, according to a company note, was “to broaden the composition of its shareholder base in certain regions, such as Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, which are the group’s main markets,” thus “improv[ing] the liquidity and profile of the company’s shares in the global market.”

  • The Chinese conglomerate might have chosen to dilute its stake to avoid triggering the Italian government’s Golden Power (wielded to protect the nation’s assets from undue influence), which might have ended Ferretti’s listing in Milan.

A wider movement. In mid-June, the Meloni government wielded its Golden Power to prevent China’s Sinochem from acquiring or exerting any form of control over tyre maker Pirelli, which it partly owns. And the executive is also mulling over using it in case Sweden’s appliance-maker Electrolux (which employs 6,000 workers in Italy) ends up accepting a Chinese acquisition.

  • National and economic security concerns also apply to Ferretti, as the company owns and operates a section of the strategically-significant Southern seaport of Taranto – where serious development money is flowing in and which China hopes to turn into a key hub on its Belt and Road Initiative.

The BRI is also in Rome’s crosshairs, as the government has signalled it’s leaning towards exiting the Memorandum of Understanding that links Italy to the Chinese infrastructure and investments project – all while Chinese envoys are warning Italian politicians and businesspeople against it.

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