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Italy takes first step to rail privatization

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Italy takes first step to rail privatization
Italy has taken the first concrete step towards privatizing its railway system and listing it on the stock exchange. Photo: Alessandro Cappotondi
08:17 CET+01:00
Italy on Wednesday took the first concrete step towards privatizing its railway system and listing it on the stock exchange as part of efforts to cut the country's gargantuan public debt.

Representatives of State Railways (FS) and the ministries of transport and economy met in Rome to discuss "procedures for privatization," the economy ministry said in a statement.

"A working group was set up to prepare all necessary steps for the opening of the company's capital (to private investors) and its listing (on the stock exchange)," the ministry added.

FS is a holding company that employs 70,000 people across several different businesses, including the train operator TrenItalia and the company that runs the rail network.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said he wanted rail privatisation to proceed quickly.

"It is an important opportunity to realise the value of a company that has shown itself to be an engine of modernization for the country," he said.

Italy is desperately in need of a boost to its national coffers with the public debt running at more than 130 percent of gross domestic product and still rising because of a failure to curtail the annual budget deficit.

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