Poste Italiane on track with IPO

Italy is on track to list 40 per cent of the national post office in late October or early November, according to its chief executive Francesco Caio, despite international market volatility and a growing outcry at home about the partial privatisation.

Turmoil in China’s equity markets over the past weeks has led bankers to suggest the knock on effect on global markets may cause repricings or delays for companies coming to the market this autumn.

However, Mr Caio said that the management of Poste Italiane would begin a two-week roadshow, as expected, on Monday, taking in London and New York as the company seeks to drum up interest from foreign investors. The IPO is due to be one of Europe’s biggest this autumn.

Italy’s Treasury is seeking to raise about €4bn from the listing. Institutions will get 60 per cent of the shares and the rest will go to retail investors.

Poste Italiane is a 153-year old national behemoth, with €28.5bn in annual revenues, €420bn in postal savings deposits, 145,000 employees and a business that straddles logistics, savings and insurance.

“The Treasury is still keen on a listing in October or early November,” Mr Caio told the FT on the sidelines of the annual Ambrosetti meeting of business leaders and politicians in Cernobbio in northern Italy.

The share sale is the main plank of an already delayed €12bn privatisation programme which the reformist government of Matteo Renzi has billed as the biggest state sell-off since the 1990s, when shares in big national groups Eni and Enel were put on the market.

Like other national postal privatisations, such as Royal Mail in the UK, the listing of Poste Italiane is becoming more contentious

In an open letter in national newspaper Corriere della Sera on Saturday, Corrado Passera, former chief executive of Italy’s biggest retail bank by assets Intesa Sanpaolo, who is seeking to launch a political career as a conservative, lambasted the plans.

Mr Passera, who was a Poste Italiane executive early in his career, said the listing would “deprive Italy of the social and administrative infrastructure [and] a formidable means of financing national debt”.

He added that if widely trailed estimates valuing the entire post office at up to €10bn were to believed “the deal will end up being a clear fire sale”.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Mediobanca, Banca IMI and UniCredit are joint global coordinators. The Treasury is being advised by Lazard and the company by Rothschild.

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