Italy to Retain 51% of Poste for Now, Finance Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- The Italian government’s sale of Poste Italiane SpA will occur in phases and the state will likely retain 51% initially instead of reducing its holding to the planned 35% right away, Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Wednesday.

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“In several phases means that in the initial stages the government could stop at 51%, a bar that is at this time satisfactory,” Giorgetti told lawmakers in Rome.

Giorgetti said in January that the government’s aim would be to increase Poste’s value as an asset while maintaining public control.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government is aiming to sell about €20 billion ($21.6 billion) in state-held stakes by 2026 in a bid to cut the country’s mammoth debt.

Rome is already moving forward with the disposal of lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA and ITA Airways, while also planning to sell part of oil major Eni SpA.

Italy faces low growth and persistently high interest rates this year, hampering efforts to cut a debt load that stands at around 137% of output. Planned stake sales would help trim the debt and offer the government some breathing room to redirect funds toward cutting taxes and keeping electoral promises.

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