MILAN Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) said it would set up a joint venture with Russia's third-largest lender by assets Gazprombank to jointly invest up to 300 million euros ($365 mln) in Italian and Russian companies seeking international growth.
The accord was signed on Monday as Italy's premier Mario Monti met with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Italian energy groups ENI (ENI.MI) and ENEL (ENEI.MI) have significant investments in Russia. On Monday, ENI signed an exploration loan facility agreement with state-owned Russian oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM).
Intesa said in a statement that Antonio Fallico, chairman of its Russian unit Zao Banca Intesa, would head the joint venture.
Gazprombank is 35.5 percent owned by Russian gas producer Gazprom (GAZP.MM).
($1 = 0.8219 euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Louise Ireland)