Cassa dei Depositi e Prestiti plans to play "an increasingly important role" in Italy's relations with China and in strengthening industrial ties between the two countries, the state lender's managing director Fabrizio Palermo said on Wednesday.
"CDP intends to play an increasingly important role in Italy's ties with China and at the institutional level is committed to bringing their industrial sectors closer together," said Palermo.
Palermo was speaking at the Italy-China annual financial forum talking place in the northern city of Milan.
"CDP participates directly or indirectly in some 60 companies operating in China that generate 3.5 billion of turnover," he stated.
The CDP wants to give "more structured" support for companies that want to exploit surging demand in China for Italian goods, Palermo said.
Italian companies have already expressed interested in the CDP's planned 'Panda bonds' to finance small and medium-sized enterprises in China that will take the lender's backing for SMEs "to a new level" Palermo added.
"We have made contacts with Chinese funds and we want to help our companies enter and expand in the Chinese market," Palermo stated.
"I am thinking of Snam and Ansaldo Energia," he added, referring to Italy's gas pipeline operator to its power engineering company.