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Covalis wins backing of Norway SWF for Enel chair candidate

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Activist hedge fund Covalis Capital has won the backing of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) for Marco Mazzucchelli, its candidate for chairman of Italian utility Enel, as opposition to the proposed appointment of Paoloa Scaroni grows, according to a report by Reuters.

Activist hedge fund Covalis Capital has won the backing of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) for Marco Mazzucchelli, its candidate for chairman of Italian utility Enel, as opposition to the proposed appointment of Paoloa Scaroni grows, according to a report by Reuters.

Scaroni is the candidate favoured by Italy’s Treasury – the company’s largest shareholder with a stake of almost 24% – for the role at the multinational energy company, but his appointment is opposed by Covalis, the Norway fund and other Enel shareholders due to concerns over governance at the state-backed utility.

Scaroni, the former chairman of AC Milan football club, and ex-CEO of both Enel and energy group Eni, was nominated by the Italian Treasury last month along with Flavio Cattaneo, vice-president of high-speed train operator Italo, as the proposed replacement for Francesco Starace, who has been chief executive since 2014.

Covalis, which has a stake of around 1% in Enel, has put forward its own list of board candidates, including former Mazzucchelli as chairman, and said the Treasury nominations undermined “shareholder democracy.”

As well as supporting Mazzucchelli for chairman, the Norwegian wealth fund, which owns a 2.17% stake in Enel, is backing other board nominees proposed by asset manager association Assogestioni, which represents institutional investors.

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