(Adds details, comment)
MILAN Feb 14 Finmeccanica shares rose
3 percent on Friday after a newspaper reported that a
long-awaited sale of the Italian defence group's loss-making
AnsaldoBreda business was getting closer.
Finmeccanica Chief Executive Alessandro Pansa has said the
group was trying to combine its profitable Ansaldo STS
unit with train maker AnsaldoBreda to create a single transport
business that could attract buyers.
Finmeccanica, in which the state owns a 30 percent stake,
put its rail and other non-core assets up for sale nearly two
years ago to cut debt and focus on aerospace and defence.
Daily la Repubblica reported on Friday that a plan, to be
unveiled by the end of February, envisaged the spin-off of
AnsaldoBreda's healthy assets. These would be transferred to a
new company called InMove Italia together with a minority stake
in Ansaldo STS.
InMove Italia would then be sold to state holding Cassa
Depositi e Prestiti while what was left of AnsaldoBreda would
turn into a "bad company" to be gradually liquidated.
Finmeccanica declined to comment.
"The news is unconfirmed but seems credible," a broker said
asking not to be named.
"It would be positive for Finmeccanica as it would get rid
at least in part of AnsaldoBreda while for STS it is not good
news because the sale of a minority stake pushes forward the
prospect of a buyout offer for the whole company."
By 0947 GMT shares in Ansaldo STS were 3.4 percent lower in
trading volumes above the 30-day daily average. Italy's
blue-chip FTSE MIB index was up 1 percent.
(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Erica Billingham)