Putin freezes Italian assets in Russia, energy and banks at risk.  Targeting Enel, Unicredit and Intesa

Putin freezes Italian assets in Russia, energy and banks at risk. Targeting Enel, Unicredit and Intesa

The answer from Wladimir Putin to the sanctions of Europe, Great Britain and United States, arrived on time. A newly signed Kremlin decree bars countries deemed “hostile”, including Italy, from selling stocks in the energy and banking sectors until the end of the year.

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The list of frozen assets and groups is expected to be finalized and released this week with input from Central Bank of Russia Governor Nabiulina. But obviously the focus would be on the American giant ExxonMobil, which is executing the exit from the expensive Shakalin 1 project together with Rosneft, which would have stayed with the game and lost the operator of the field to which they contribute , but with roles of minors, including Japanese and Indian. As the newspaper Kommersant reports, with regard to Italy, Enel would also be part of the energy shortage. In fact, the exit of foreign shareholders from most of the energy sector would be temporarily frozen, particularly in relation to the previously announced agreement to sell the Italian group’s 56.43 percent stake in Lukoil and the Gazprombank-Frezia fund to Enel Russia (the three owns 5.6 GW power plants and two wind farms).

The cases

Of course, the decision will not become official until a list of companies that fall under the ban is available. Then the final word rests with Putin: the decree leaves open the possibility of completing transactions with special permission from the president.

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Enel announced in mid-June that it had reached an agreement to exit Russia with an operation worth €137 million, but was awaiting the green light from the Russian authorities to complete it, subject to local OK. And as of this writing, it’s difficult to shut down operations in the fourth quarter of the year. According to Kommersant, which also points to the agreement to sell Russian assets of Finland’s Fortum among the frozen operations, the problems would not end with the missed collections. Under the current conditions, if European companies have to stay, they must focus on finding a way to service and repair Western equipment in the face of severe restrictions. Aside from the industrial holdings, the banks, including Unicredit, which has already significantly reduced exposure and is working to sell rather than “sell off” its assets to third countries, are awaiting the list of “frozen” companies unaffected by the sanctions . The bank’s involvement in Moscow is carried out directly through Unicredit Bank Russia and indirectly through the activities of the German subsidiary Hvb and Corporate & Investment Banking (Cib), which operates in 50 countries. A similar speech for Intesa Sanpaolo, who has severely limited her presence in the country and is evaluating her presence.

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The first European bank to leave Russia in April was Société Générale. The French group sold its entire stake in Rosbank and its insurance branches to Interros Capital and posted a loss of more than three billion. American Citi, after selling its retail banking business in Russia, opted to keep the banking license instead.

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The coal

Meanwhile, the total embargo on coal imports from Russia begins today. With the entry into force of the sanctions decided by the EU governments in April after the four-month grace period demanded by Germany in particular, all exceptions will no longer apply and Europe will no longer be able to obtain fossil fuels from them, which was previously their main supplier. Until last year, Moscow alone shipped almost half of all EU imports with a trade exchange worth 4 billion euros. And with the general increases on the energy front not sparing coal, the perfect storm that will hit the EU this winter is enriched with a new variable: in the last few weeks the price on the Rotterdam market has actually reached four times the registered a year ago, locked in at over 300 euros per tonne, up to almost 400. Despite the record price and commitment to decarbonisation, many EU countries are reactivating coal-fired power plants to make up for the shortage of Russian gas. A move that will keep demand high.