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Italy to Sell Stakes in Postal Service, Air Traffic Controller

A pedestrian passes red mailboxes outside a Poste Italiane SpA post office in Milan. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Italy’s government approved a plan to sell shares in the state-owned postal service and the air-traffic control agency as part of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s efforts to reduce the country’s debt.

The cabinet approved a decree for the sale of up to 40 percent of Poste Italiane SpA and as much as 49 percent of Enav SpA, the premier’s office said today in a statement.

The sales are part of Renzi’s plan to raise as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) by selling stakes in state-run companies. The cash will help cut a public debt that is forecast to reach 135 percent of gross domestic product this year.

Italy’s Treasury has picked Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Mediobanca SpA among the investment banks for the initial public offering of Poste, which may raise about 4 billion euros, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

With almost 14,000 offices, Poste offers savings and insurance products along with traditional letter and package delivery. Fitch Ratings revised the company’s outlook today to stable from negative, while affirming its long-term issuer default rating at BBB+. The rating company cited a “financial performance” in line with expectations as a reason for the revised outlook.

A stake in air traffic controller Enav may be sold either through an IPO or a direct sale, according to the statement.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said last month that the sales of Poste and Enav are “one chapter of a very ambitious program.”

Last week, shareholders of state shipbuilder Fincantieri approved an IPO and a 600 million euro capital increase.

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