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Italy's state broadcaster to list network unit
September 4, 2014 / 5:08 PM / 3 years ago

Italy's state broadcaster to list network unit

* State broadcaster to list minority stake in Rai Way unit

* Listing could value Rai Way at 1 billion euros

* Rai Way could be listed by mid-November - source

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Italian state-owned broadcaster Rai will list a minority stake in its network unit Rai Way on the Milan stock exchange, Rai Way said, as the government takes a small step in its privatisation plan.

Rai Way said on Thursday its board had approved listing documents that will be filed with the Milan stock exchange and with market regulator Consob, without giving further details.

Confirming an earlier report in Italian daily Corriere della Sera, a source familiar with the situation said the plan was to list a 40 to 49 percent stake by mid-November, valuing Rai Way at 900 million to 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

Italy, which has the second-largest public debt in the euro zone as a percentage of gross domestic product, has announced a plan to cut debt through asset sales.

The Treasury had hoped to raise about 11 billion euros in all, equal to 0.7 percent of Italy’s 1.6 trillion euro GDP, by selling stakes in companies, but market volatility has put a brake on the government’s plans.

Italy listed shipbuilder Fincantieri in July but will miss on plans to list the postal service this year and is in no rush to complete sales of stakes in energy companies Eni and Enel.

Advisers for the listing of Rai Way have already been lined up, with Credit Suisse, Banca IMI and Mediobanca acting as global coordinators, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Once the documents are presented, it normally takes 60 days before the listing takes place.

Net profit at Rai Way, which competes in Italy with EI Towers and Persidera, more than trebled to 11.8 million euros in 2013 from 3.3 million as lower costs more than offset a 1 percent drop in revenue to 228 million euros.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said this week he aimed to meet targets for revenue from state asset sales but added that the sale of stakes in Eni and Enel, due to raise some 5 billion euros by the end of this year, was not a priority.

1 US dollar = 0.7698 euro editing by Jane Baird

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