December 26, 2012 / 12:45 PM / in 5 years

German ministry wants to push pace of privatisation -paper

BERLIN, Dec 26 (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler wants to push the pace of government privatisation efforts including in companies such as Deutsche Telekom , according to an internal ministry document obtained by Die Welt newspaper.

“The state has to withdraw itself from companies and financial institutions,” the Economy Ministry report said.

The ministry will push for the creation of an expert commission to come up with concrete proposals on where the state can reduce its holdings, the report said. The sales can help Germany achieve a balanced budget well before the 2016 target.

Deutsche Telekom and railway operator Deutsche Bahn are the two most prominent names on the government’s list of privatisations. The government holds 14.8 percent of Telekom and 100 percent of Deutsche Bahn.

The government also holds stakes in Deutsche Post , Commerzbank as well as the airports Berlin/Brandenburg, Cologne/Bonn and Munich.

In December, Economy Ministry state secretary Bernhard Heitzer told Reuters that the ministry was interested in quick sales of state holdings while rising share prices and low returns on German government bonds make such deals more attractive to investors.

“The clear answer is: yes,” Heitzer said, but added two criteria were important: “First is there an irrefutable necessity for the state’s involvement? And secondly what is the absorbing capacity of the capital markets for each specific case?”

The German government has returned this year to long-term efforts to sell off state holdings after the 2008 global financial crisis put paid to previous efforts, including a deal on Deutsche Bahn.

The sale earlier this month of the TLG Immobilien GmbH, a portfolio of commercial properties, for 1.1 billion euros to investor Lone Star was the largest privatisation in five years. (Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum)

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