Fondigest seeks funds for trust

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ITALY'S third-largest mutual fund manager, Fondigest, is seeking pounds 35m to pounds 100m from City investors for the first London-listed investment trust for smaller to medium- sized quoted Italian companies, writes John Willcock.

The launch seeks to take advantage of the recently elected right-wing government, which is committed to privatisation and lower public spending.

The offer closes on 22 July and is aimed at institutions, although private investors will be able to apply through their brokers. The minimum allocation is 1,000 shares of pounds 1 each with one warrant attached for every five shares.

The launch is sponsored by Carnegie International, a stockbroker owned by Nordbanken, Sweden's largest bank. Carnegie specialises in Scandinavian and southern European business. Panmure Gordon is stockbroker to the launch.

Nick Guyatt, head of corporate finance, said the fund would invest in about 40 stocks in companies with a market capitalisation of pounds 1bn, mostly in northern Italy. The Italian definition of a medium-sized company is much bigger than the British one, as only 200 companies are quoted in Italy.

He said institutions had expressed interest in a trust managed by an Italian company, Fondigest, but wanted to see the fund limited to pounds 100m as anything bigger would make finding appropriate investments difficult.