Italy: A Stormy Engagement

The negotiations between the two giants had been going on secretly for five months, but the news was finally broken last week by Italy's Communist paper L'Unità. The news: Royal Dutch/Shell has offered to buy half interest in two new petrochemical plants of Italy's Montecatini mineral and chemical complex, for a price somewhere between $150 million and $300 million. L'Unità's shrill attack on the proposed sale—which is still very much in the negotiating stage—was quickly picked up by left-wingers in Parliament, and it soon seemed to the casual reader that all Italy was threatened with domination by "foreign monopolies...

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