May 12, 2014 / 7:00 AM / in 5 years

German audit office calls for Deutsche Telekom stake sale-paper

FRANKFURT, May 12 (Reuters) - Germany should sell down its 31.9 percent stake in Deutsche Telekom, but retain control over the German railway network, a senior official at Germany’s federal audit office, the Bundesrechnungshof, told German daily Die Welt.

Germany has a 14.5 percent direct stake in Deutsche Telekom, and a further 17.4 percent stake held by KfW, the state-controlled bank.

“Telephony is not a task for the state”, Christian Ahrendt, vice president of the Bundesrechnungshof told the paper.

The state should constantly question its holdings, and if there is no longer a public interest in state inolvement, the stakes should be sold down, Ahrendt is quoted as saying.

However, Ahrendt said Germany should retain its control over the railway infrastructure. “It would be wrong to separate the railway network from Deutsche Bahn and to privatise it”, he told the paper.

Within the hierarchy of federal authorities in Germany the Bundesrechnungshof has the same status as the Office of the Federal President, the Federal Chancellery and the federal government departments.

An independent advisory group had previously recommended that Germany should consider selling out of both Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post. (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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