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Italy begins privatization wave with post office

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Italy begins privatization wave with post office
Weak and uncompetitive? An Italian post office. Photo: Mattes.
13:47 CEST+02:00
Italy's government plans to list a 40 percent stake in the national post office, Poste Italiane, on the Milan exchange later this year as part of a drive to privatize state-run assests.
The sale of a €4 billion stake in the post office is part of premier Matteo Renzi's wider plan to privatize a number of state assets, as the government aims to raise €12 billion for the state's coffers. 
 
In what is the country's largest wave of privatization since the 1990s, the government is also proposing the partial sale of railway group Ferrovie dello Stato and national aviation group, Enav.
 
The money raised will go towards reducing a tiny fraction of Italy's € 2.2 trillion debt, the Financial Times reported.
 
Fabrizio Pagani, head of the office of the treasury minister, told the Financial Times that the partial sales of state companies to international investors, "was also a “means to make these companies stronger and more competitive."”
 
Poste Italiane currently employs over 140,000 people, holds €around 240 billion in savings' deposits and has annual revenues of €24 billion.

However, the service is in decline and the partial privatization comes as part of a plan that includes seeking to increase revenues to €30 billion and deposits to €500 billion by 2019.
 
The plans have been welcomed by bankers, who see it as a good opportunity for the service to move into the business of asset management.
 
A senior banker told the Financial Times that the share offer had already attracted significant interest from investors in the UK and US as well as limited interest from sovereign wealth funds in Asia.
 
The draft prospectus is expected to be completed by late August, meaning that the company could be listed as early as October this year.
 
The government had planned to list the post office last year, but moved plans back after the poor performance of state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri, which was listed on the Milan stock exchange last June.
 
The planned privatization is controversial and not welcome by everybody, not least the employees of the 153 year-old post office, who fear it will bring with it inevitable cuts and job losses.
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