Italy summons Russian envoy over Ariston subsidiary takeover

Italy summons Russian envoy over Ariston subsidiary takeover

ROME (AFP): Italy on Saturday summoned Russia’s ambassador after Moscow announced it was putting a subsidiary of Italian heating firm Ariston Thermo Group under the “temporary management” of state energy giant Gazprom.

“The government requests clarification on the matter of the nationalisation of the Ariston Thermo Group,” Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on X.

He said he asked the top official in Italy’s foreign office to summon Russia’s ambassador, adding that Rome was “working also with Brussels, in conjunction with Germany,” after Bosch was also targeted.

Tajani earlier said he had spoken to Ariston’s top managers and Rome “stands alongside businesses, ready to protect them in all international markets”.

An EU spokesman condemned the measure as “yet another proof of Russia’s disregard for international law and rules” and called on Moscow to reverse it.

The move was announced in a Russian decree published on Friday — although dated Thursday — and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

It transfers control over 100 percent of the shares in Ariston’s Russian companies — Ariston Thermo Rus, owned by Ariston Holding NV and BSH Household Appliances, owned by BSH Hausgerate GmbH — to Gazprom Household Systems, a subsidiary of Gazprom.

BSH Hausgerate told AFP it was in discussions with Gazprom Household Systems and would not be making any other comments for the time being.

Since invading Ukraine, Moscow has taken the Russian subsidiaries of a number of Western companies — notably French yoghurt-make Danone and Danish brewer Carlsberg — under what it calls “temporary management control”.

It cast the moves as a response to Western sanctions on Russian companies.

Western officials and some of the companies have blasted Moscow’s “nationalisation” of private property.

The EU spokesperson said Saturday: “Russia confirms to be an unpredictable actor also in the economic field, and has created a business climate which is arbitrary and hostile towards foreign investors.

“The European Union calls on Russia to reverse these measures and seek acceptable solutions with European companies targeted by them.”