Foreign investment issues

Investment restrictions

What restrictions, fees and taxes exist on foreign investment in or ownership of a project and related companies? Do the restrictions also apply to foreign investors or creditors in the event of foreclosure on the project and related companies? Are there any bilateral investment treaties with key nation states or other international treaties that may afford relief from such restrictions? Would such activities require registration with any government authority?

As a general rule, foreign investments are not subject to restrictions under Italian law. However, in certain strategic sectors, such as defence and national security, energy, transportation and communication, Italian law provides that scrutiny by the Italian government is first implemented and, further, that the Italian government may exercise a veto right over certain extraordinary resolutions of the shareholders or the boards of directors of the companies operating in those sectors.

Insurance restrictions

What restrictions, fees and taxes exist on insurance policies over project assets provided or guaranteed by foreign insurance companies? May such policies be payable to foreign secured creditors?

See question 10.

Worker restrictions

What restrictions exist on bringing in foreign workers, technicians or executives to work on a project?

EU and EEA nationals, pursuant to the principle of free movement of persons, goods, services and capital, can be employed in Italy without any authorisation by the Italian authorities. If an EU national chooses to work in Italy for a period in excess of three months, she or he should apply for a ‘stay card’, which is normally issued by the local state police office upon a simple request. This permit is renewable. Swiss citizens have the same right of entry, residence and access to work as EU nationals.

The admission of non-EU foreign workers is subject to a mechanism of quantitative selectivity based on quotas for new entries on a yearly basis (established by government, which sets the quota through a prime ministerial decree, published in the Official Gazette).

Equipment restrictions

What restrictions exist on the importation of project equipment?

Assuming that European general principles upon this matter are applicable, in particular, to project companies, pursuant to the right of free trade throughout the territory of the EU that operates in the European Union, the EEA and in the Turkish area, project companies have the right to freely export and import project equipment. This means that EU countries cannot limit the quantities of imported or exported goods, nor impose restrictions on trade. The right to free trade also includes the right of free transit throughout the territory of the EU, once a product (even if manufactured outside the EU) has entered the EU, it can be transported freely throughout the whole EU. If project companies import more than a certain value in products (which changes from country to country) into the EU, those companies have a duty to provide a statistical report on their intra-EU trade flows.

Concerning the import of project equipment from extra-EU countries, international bilateral treaties signed between Italy and other extra-EU countries shall be considered.

Nationalisation laws

What laws exist regarding the nationalisation or expropriation of project companies and assets? Are any forms of investment specially protected (from nationalisation or expropriation)?

Not applicable.