MILAN, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Italian state-backed financing agency Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is still in talks to buy a stake in Finmeccanica unit AnsaldoEnergia and is open to new industrial partners, its chief executive said in an interview with Reuters.
Finmeccanica put its power engineering company on the block over one year ago to help cut debt and focus on its core defence and aerospace activities. Bids are seen by a Wednesday deadline.
"We are negotiating," Giovanni Gorno Tempini said. "Conditions are in place to allow AnsaldoEnergia to continue to grow and we have nothing against possible cooperation deals with other industrial partners with a global reach."
Press reports said recently CDP could pull out of the race for AnsaldoEnergia, leaving only Siemens and South Korea's Doosan and Samsung in the reckoning.
CDP's offer for AnsaldoEnergia was seen by Finmeccanica as less appetising because it involved just a minority stake. Finmeccanica owns 55 percent of the energy unit while the remainder is held by U.S. fund First Reserve.
Gorno Tempini also said talks to invest in the fixed-line copper network of Telecom Italia were under way but added a final decision still needed to be reached.
"It remains to be seen whether talks will bear fruit or not," he said. "The aim is to reach a good balance between the goals of the company and our target of fostering fibre-optic development," he said.
CDP, 70 percent owned by Italy's treasury, has broadened its traditional lending activity to include direct investments in Italian companies and export finance to become what Gorno Tempini likes to call a "development bank".