Mr Conti told the newspaper that the firm would be looking to central and eastern Europe in particular for expansion opportunities. His comments come just days after Enel bought Slovenske Elektrarne, the Slovakian energy player that is the second largest in the CEE region after CEZ of the Czech Republic.

Our aim is a balanced mix of energy sources, roughly equally split between coal, nuclear and renewables. Nuclear energy is cheap and environmentally friendly but we cannot have nuclear facilities in Italy so are looking abroad, said Mr Conti.

To that end, Enel is set to invest some E2 billion into additional nuclear investment in Slovakia. Enel is also keen to further its presence in Russia ahead of a widely-expected privatization of the country’s electricity industry.