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Italy May Delay VAT Rise If Economy Gains, CNBC Reports

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The Italian government could delay a planned increase in the value-added tax to 22 percent should economic conditions improve, Undersecretary for Finance Gianfranco Polillo told Class CNBC in a television interview.

“Should the economic situation improve in the coming months, the increase in VAT by 1 percentage point in July 2013 could be frozen,” Polillo said on Class CNBC today.

Polillo also said the government is trying to “resolve the problems that have affected the management of Finmeccanica, separating those issues from the good working of the company.” Finmeccanica SpA is being targeted in corruption investigations in Italy that contributed to the resignation of Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, the former chairman and chief executive officer of the country’s largest defense contractor. The probes also involve current executives.

The state-controlled company is a “strategic asset for the government” and, as is the case with Enel SpA and Eni SpA, “for the time being we aren’t talking about selling them off,” though “you can never say never,” Polillo said in the interview.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Davis in Rome at abdavis@bloomberg.net; Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Quinson at tquinson@bloomberg.net

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