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Gemina

Once a share parking of Montedison (then owned by ENI), in 1981 Gemina (Generale Mobiliare Interessenze Azionarie) passed under joint control of Mediobanca and Fiat and bought a large parcel of Montedison shares from ENI, thus giving Enrico Cuccia and his allies control of the chemical giant. Led by Cesare Romiti and later by Giampiero Pesenti, during the 1980s Gemina abandoned Montedison (which was nationalized again) but bought Rizzoli-Corriere della sera, a giant publishing group then on the verge of bankruptcy, became a shareholder in AmbroVeneto, a Catholic banking group, and eventually turned itself into a holding of merchant banking and insurance activities. In 1995 Mediobanca planned to transform it into a giant chemical conglomerate, SuperGemina, which had to amalgamate Montedison (in deep crisis after Ferruzzi’s collapse) and chemical companies of the Fiat group. The project was given up after an enormous loss in Rizzoli’s balance sheet was discovered and Gemina’s managers were prosecuted. More recently, Gemina has given up control of Rizzoli to HDP (Holding di Partecipazioni), a financial holding of which Gemina itself is a shareholder, has abandoned the financial services business and has focused on merchant banking in favour of emerging middle-size companies.