Italy plays down talk of selling part of Poste Italiane

Milan: The Italian Treasury is not working to cut its stake in postal service Poste Italiane (PST.MI), a ministry spokesperson said on Friday, responding to a newspaper report that it could sell its full 29.26% holding through a public offer.

Business daily Il Sole 24 Ore had reported that such a move, worth 3.8 billion euros ($4.1 billion), could coincide with the presentation of Poste’s new business plan set for March 20.

Under the plan, state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) would retain its 35% stake in the company, the report had added.

The postal operator is a financial conglomerate that has expanded beyond its core business into payments, mobile phone services and energy supply, as well as insurance and investment products.

With the state directly or indirectly owning 64.26%, Poste is widely seen as an asset which the government could use to meet its 21-billion-euro target in privatisation proceeds for the 2024-2026 period.

Italy last month raised 920 million euros when it sold 25% of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) (BMPS.MI), advancing plans to re-privatise the world’s oldest bank two years after a failed first attempt.