Pirelli, the world’s fifth-biggest tyre maker, is to be bought by China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) in a 7.1 billion euro (RM28.6 billion) deal, according to various reports.

State-owned ChemChina has reportedly agreed to pay 15 euro (RM60.37) a share for the 26.2% of Pirelli owned by Cam Finanziaria, the Italian company’s largest investor. For the remaining stake, a public tender is set to be made at the same price.

If all goes well, the deal will open the doors to premium tyre technology for ChemChina (which has a tyre-making unit called China National Tyre & Rubber), whilst giving Pirelli a boost in China and Asia, where competitors such as Michelin and Continental are seeking growth.

ChemChina is contemplating taking Pirelli private – the headquarters will remain in Milan, while the company may be re-listed in four years. Pirelli’s less profitable truck and industrial tyre business, however, is set to be folded into AEOLUS, a listed unit of ChemChina.

According to Thomson Reuters data, this is China’s fifth-biggest outbound deal by a state-owned enterprise. Following a hiatus prompted by president Xi Jinping’s anti-graft crackdown, state-owned enterprises are returning to global deal-making in full force.

Financial sector aside, Italy is the second-biggest European acquisition market for China and the fifth-largest globally – no fewer than 10 deals have been completed since the start of 2014. Very powerful, but then again, power is nothing without control.