Tuesday 16 January 2018

Italy to sell 3pc of Eni amid debt plan

Andrew Frye

ITALIAN Prime Minister Enrico Letta plans to sell 3pc of Eni as part of a programme to raise as much as €12bn by disposing of state assets to reduce Europe's second-biggest public debt.

Italy's 30.3pc stake in the oil company, which is split between the Treasury and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, won't fall below 30pc because Eni will be buying back shares on the market, Mr Letta said.

Italy also plans to sell stakes in STMicroelectronics, Grandi Stazioni, Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani SpA and Sace SpA.

Mr Letta (47) is divesting assets to comply with European Union debt-reduction targets.

"It's a choice we're making to free up other resources," Mr Letta said. Italy expects to get "greater flexibility for productive investment" from the EU thanks to the asset sales and other budget moves, he said.

Eni shares fell 0.6pc to €17.94 in Rome, while Geneva-based STM declined 1.9pc to €5.79. Eni on May 10 got shareholders' approval to buy back as much as 10pc of its own capital for as much as €6bn.

The 3pc Eni stake is valued at about €2bn at current market prices, which give the full company a value of about €65bn. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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