(Updates with details of minister's statement)
ROME Jan 21 The sale of a 30-40 percent in
Italy's stake in publicly owned post office group Poste Italiane
could take place by June or July, Deputy Industry
Minister Antonio Catricala said on Tuesday.
The move is an attempt to help cut the country's debt,
expected to be 132.7 percent of national output at the end of
this year and surpassed only by Greece in the European Union.
"A period between five or six months is conceivable to
finalise the details of the operation," Catricala said in a
parliamentary hearing, adding that Italy would retain a majority
stake in the service.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta has announced plans to raise up
to 12 billion euros through the sale of stakes in public
entities including oil and gas group Eni.
The post office has not been valued and it is not clear how
much the sale of the stake would raise.
Catricala said it could be sold through a public offering or
a direct sale. He noted that in privatisations of postal
services in other European countries, shares had been given to
Italy has repeatedly pledged in recent years to sell
state-owned assets without making significant progress. It has
made new commitments to do so amid growing pressure from the
European Commission to reduce a debt pile that has grown during
years of recession.
(Reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Naomi O'Leary)