Stocks in the ‘bigs’ of oil and technology, the gas and energy networks, the shipbuilding sector and other prized assets: all this on the platter with which Italy opens an new season of privatizations, from which it hopes to collect 10 to 12 billion in 2014. The government’s program, whose planning started last summer, was announced a few days ago by Premier Enrico Letta, precisely twenty years after the first privatization plan: the plan is based on the goal of providing a significant contribution to the containment of public debt, but the maneuver also provides the opportunity for investors and large groups to look towards Italy.
The Italian government officially opened eight dossiers, moreover, it did so precisely at the time when there is already strong attention being paid to two other ex state group positioned in sectors relevant to the national economy: Alitalia in air transport, who is undertaking a delicate restructuration and seeking foreign partners; and Telecom Italia, who is undergoing a decisive phase in its proprietary and strategic reorganization. In the first place, the Ministry of Economy intends to cede a 3% participation in ENI, the worlds sixth oil company by turnover, from which it expects to collect approximately 2 billion Euros. The most valuable asset, however, is SACE – a company that supports Italian businesses’ foreign trade through its own activity of credit insurance, investment protection, security concessions and financial guaratntees. SACE is currently entirely owned by the Ministry of Treasury through the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, and Letta’s executive aims to collect offers for a majority packet of stocks, approximately 60% of the capital, for a profit estimated at approximately 5 billion Euros. Nearly 4 billion are expected from the companies of the energy and gas networks. There are two expected divestments: firstly, a minority packet in CDP Reti, a holding company that already detains the majority stock in SNAM Rete Gas (Italian leader in gas transport and distribution, with a 32,000 km network across the national territory) and that should soon also detain the controlling shares in Terna, which owns the Italian electric network, with 63,500 km of high voltage wiring; the second cession in the network sector will center around trans Austria Gas, the gas pipeline on Austrian soil that transports natural gas from Russia to Italy.
Shipyards and rail stations are two other pieces on the market. The Italian government intends, firstly, to cede 40% of Fincantieri, one of the principal shipbuilders in Europe and the world, with a 2.4 billion Euro turnover in 2012. Secondly, it will look for a buyer for Grandi Stazioni, the company built in 1998 to upgrade and commercially manage Italy’s 13 major railway stations (Roma’s Termini, Bari’s Central, Bologna’s Central, Florence’s Santa Maria Novella, Genoa’s Brignole and Piazza Principe, Milan’s Central, Naples’ Centra;l, Palermo’s Central, Venice’s Mestre and Santa Lucia, and Verona’s Porta Nuova): the dossier will pertain to the approximately 60% of detained by the Ferrovie dello Stato. The last company being divested by the Italian government is ENAV, the company that controls and assists the navigation of 1.6 million yearly flights to 40 Italian airports. Finally, the privatization packet also includes the Treasury’s stock in StMicroelectronics, the Italian-French semiconductors colossus, of which the Italian government still detains approximately 14%; this quota, however, should already be destined to the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.