March 18, 2020 / 8:31 PM / 18 days ago

Italy’s Terna delays April shareholder meeting amid coronavirus crisis

ROME/MILAN, March 18 (Reuters) - Italian power grid operator Terna has postponed its shareholder meeting in April because of the coronavirus epidemic, which could lead to a delay in the process to appoint the heads of some of Italy’s biggest state-controlled companies.

The boards of directors of state-owned groups such as Terna, energy company Eni, utility Enel, defense group Leonardo and lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena all come up for renewal in the spring.

The Treasury was due to decide in March on the new appointments, but the decision now looks like it will be delayed because of the need to focus on fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries with nearly 3,000 deaths from 35,713 cases.

Monte dei Paschi has already decided to delay its AGM.

“At this moment tackling the whole appointments process is unthinkable,” a top ruling coalition member said on Wednesday.

Terna said in a statement that it had put back its AGM scheduled for April 24 to a date yet to be decided but within a 180-day deadline set by a government decree that came into force on Tuesday.

Disagreement within the fragile, ruling coalition on whom to nominate to the boards has also played a role, the source said. (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Stephen Jewkes; editing by Grant McCool)

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