The People’s Bank of China bought stakes topping 2 percent in Italy’s two biggest companies by market value, in a deal worth about a total €2 billion (US$2.76 billion) at current stock-market prices, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing Italian securities regulator Consob. Consob said the Chinese central bank topped the 2 percent threshold, with a stake of 2.1 percent in oil and natural-gas company Eni SpA and 2.07 percent in utility Enel SpA. Eni’s market capitalization was €65.2 billion Thursday, while that of Enel was €38.1 billion. Both companies are controlled by the Italian government and have bylaws that limit voting rights to a maximum of 2 percent, apart from the government, the report said.
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